Climate, Food, and Ag Dialogue

We are a diverse and pragmatic group of food and agriculture leaders working to enact federal climate policy. We recognize that farmers, ranchers, and foresters are critical to mitigating climate change.

About the Dialogue

CFAD's long-term goal is to enact federal climate policy in line with our guiding principles. Our members are farmers, food and agriculture company leaders, former USDA officials and Congressional staff, and civil society organizations who believe that climate change demands ambitious and durable federal policy solutions. Together, we develop bipartisan policy ideas and inform decision-makers in the Administration and Congress.

USDA Conservation Programs

Representing over 40% of U.S. land acres, America’s working lands are a critical part of the fight against climate change. Public investment in working lands conservation and regenerative agriculture are necessary to help farmers and companies mitigate climate impacts and deliver other important benefits, such as improved water quality and quantity and biodiversity habitat. We help USDA leverage its conservation investments in a way that makes economic sense for farmers and advances equitable access to federal conservation programs.

USDA Conservation Programs

Ag-Climate Research

Our research recommendations outline priorities to enable USDA to bring climate change mitigation solutions within a broader scope of federal and private investment in agricultural research. Research can fill evidence gaps around climate-smart agriculture, inform strategies to overcome barriers to adoption at scale, monitor trends in GHG emissions and sequestration on working lands, and align the interests of climate, farmers, and society as a whole.

Ag-Climate Research

Early Innovators

As public and private investments in climate-smart agriculture increase, we risk excluding our conservation leaders who blazed the trail for the development of these practices. Our goal should be to develop an agricultural system that encourages maintenance of existing practices, continued innovation, and broader adoption of climate-smart practices by farmers who have not yet been persuaded to adopt them.

Early Innovator Recommendations

USDA Climate Bank

We developed guidance for how USDA could establish a “Climate Bank” to finance U.S. agriculture and forestry projects with climate benefits. Our concept note outlines design options for developing a successful and broadly supported “Climate Bank” that leverages private sector actions and resources.

Climate Bank Concept Note

Members

CFAD is designed to encompass the entire food system. Its members include stakeholders from across the food and agriculture system: farmers, companies, former government officials, and environmental and conservation organizations.

Guiding Principles

Climate change demands ambitious and durable federal policy solutions proportionate to the urgency and scale of the problem. These solutions, which may entail costs, must provide transparency and promote affordability while distributing costs and benefits to promote equity. 

The scientific consensus that the climate is changing at an increasingly rapid pace is undeniable, and the timeframe for taking meaningful action to avoid catastrophic impacts is running short. Adherence to the following principles will help ensure the inclusion of food, agriculture, and forestry in climate policies that reduce carbon emissions and curb climate impacts. Download a PDF of the Guiding Principles HERE. Federal policy solutions must be:

To achieve meaningful action, policy solutions must be broadly bipartisan and widely supported by Americans.

Climate legislation must work with, not against, the diverse interests that make up this critically important sector of the U.S. economy, regardless of farm, ranch, or forest scale, location, type, ownership structure, or supply chain position.

A robust food and agriculture system underpins the well-being of all communities.

Climate policies should support both mitigation of greenhouse gasses and adaptation to the effects of climate change. The food, agriculture, and forestry sectors are both affected by and must be an integral part of any strategy for addressing climate change.

Strategies for mitigating and adapting to climate change should be informed by rigorous scientific research and data analysis. This includes developing protocols and methodologies to quantify soil health and carbon sequestration that can drive investment and decision-making at multiple scales.

Climate policies should provide economic incentives on par with their contributions to climate mitigation and improved ecosystem services, including rewarding early action. These incentives may include market-based solutions that reward performance.

Efforts should support farmers, ranchers, foresters, and supply chain actors in determining the best long-term strategies to mitigate economic and environmental risk and bolster resilience.