Our current conventional agriculture education and technical assistance systems are not adequately addressing the fact that the average farm in America is losing over 5.8 tons of topsoil per acre per year, facing historic losses from flooding and drought, and adding 4% to farm debt annually. America’s farmers, and the institutions that support them, need urgent access to updated education that promotes resilient, healthy soil and the transition to regenerative agriculture, based on the latest cutting-edge science and context-based principles for climate adaptation. Education, not only for farmers and ranchers, but also for USDA, Technical Service Providers, Extension services, and other educators, and expanded implementation assistance, are critically important tools for regenerating American agriculture. This must include education not only for cropping systems, but also for the regenerative management of pasture and rangeland systems, with an emphasis on the opportunities for the integration of crops and animals. Soil health-focused education is the first essential step in rebuilding the resilience of our family farms, while rebuilding soils, restoring biodiversity, replenishing fresh water sources, and sequestering carbon.
Summary of Policy Requests:
- Make regenerative agriculture and soil health education and training available to all farmers and ranchers, and provide incentives to encourage farmer engagement.
- To ensure appropriate support for farmers and ranchers, require relevant USDA staff (prioritizing NRCS, FSA & RMA) to undergo soil health and regenerative agriculture education and training, and make the training available to all Technical Service Providers (TSPs).
- Expand funding for, access to, and farmer enrollment in, existing USDA working lands conservation programs, and prioritize conservation practices that result in land regeneration, and ensure an emphasis on holistically-managed, pasture-based livestock systems and integrated crop-livestock systems.
Relates to Farm Bill Titles: II (Conservation) and VII (Research, Extension and Related Matters).