Newswise — August 12, 2021 - Over the past several years there has been a rapidly increasing focus on agriculture as a climate solution. Three scientific societies are uniquely positioned at the interface of climate, agriculture, and the environment: the American Society of AgronomyCrop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America. They released a statement, Advancing Resilient Agriculture: Recommendations to Address Climate Change, this week.

“Our recommendations are an important contribution to the ongoing climate policy discussion,” says Director of Government Relations, Karl Anderson. “They highlight the importance of science and data to drive ecosystem services and connect the dots to professional agronomists and extension specialists who ultimately can help producers implement science-based strategies.”

The statement provides recommendations under seven categories:

  • agricultural practices,
  • data,
  • research,
  • food system resilience,
  • communication and outreach,
  • diversity, and
  • collaboration.

The document emphasizes that while science provides proven strategies to bring balance and resilience to agricultural ecosystems, there is no single practice, no magic bullet, that applies to every farm. What is needed are collections of practices tailored for each region, climate, soil type, and farming system.

“Agricultural systems are an important tool in addressing climate change,” says Dr. Diane Rowland, one of the members of the ASA, CSSA, SSSA Climate Task Force. “Agricultural lands directly interface with and impact natural systems, both positively and negatively. It’s a continuum. Certainly, natural systems are important, but agricultural systems provide a unique opportunity to purposely manage for enhanced climate mitigation and adaptation,” she says. Rowland is dean of College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture at the University of Maine.

The statement is intended to inform the Societies’ work with policymakers in Congress, the administration, and federal agencies. It will also be a valuable tool when working with partner organizations and agricultural stakeholders who are engaging in climate action.

As a Certified Crop Adviser, Betsy Bower, points out, science will only get us part of the way there. “As this document describes, communication is central,” she says. “Certified Crop Advisers advise farmers and other customers on climate smart crop production practices, so we will need to know what has been learned and what is on the horizon, and we will need to partner with federal partners and non-governmental organizations like The Nature Conservancy and local Soil & Water Conservation Districts to translate research to practice.” Bower was the Certified Crop Adviser representative on the Climate Task Force.

Read the full statement online at https://www.agronomy.org/science-policy/issues/climate-change.