ISA President Jeff Jorgenson penned a letter on behalf of Iowa's 38,000 soybean farmers to share their perspective on how the Biden Administration can work toward climate change mitigation.
Iowa Soybean Farmers Encourage Impactful Policies, Practicality in USDA Climate Plan
May 7, 2021 | Katie James
In a letter sent last week to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) urged the administration to act innovatively and deliberately on how agriculture can help lead the way on climate and conservation issues.
No strangers to leading the way, visionary Iowa soybean farmers have been incorporating conservation into competitive soybean production for more than 50 years. ISA took this innovative approach and forward-thinking to USDA as it shapes a national climate strategy.
“Soybean farmers face a myriad of challenges including impactful climate events and the volatile market dynamics they create,” ISA President and Sidney, Iowa farmer Jeff Jorgenson wrote. “Recognizing healthy soils are critical to making the land and our farms more resilient, ISA is committed to helping farmers develop and implement agricultural systems, strategies and long-term mitigation efforts that scale up and accelerate soil health and water conservation across Iowa farmland.”
Jorgenson cited the launch of the Soil & Water Outcomes Fund as an example of that commitment. The ISA subsidiary provides financial incentives to farmers who adopt conservation practices. These efforts can yield positive environmental outcomes including carbon sequestration and improved soil and water quality.
“ISA sees opportunities for farmers to provide beneficial ecosystem services through conservation practices on working lands,” said Jorgenson, who has adopted a no-till cropping system on his soybean and corn farm in southwest Iowa. “The opportunity to leverage private sustainability commitments and funding to expand the reach of taxpayer dollars is also real and growing.”
In addition to leveraged funding from the private sector to enhance the pace and scope of conservation practices, ISA is urging the administration to:
- Create a USDA funding pool to support farmer payments for ecosystem services,
- Offer outcomes-based payments to farmers implementing climate-smart practices;
- Stack ecosystem services to not only focus on carbon sequestration but also soil health and water quality;
- Streamline enrollment to mitigate farmer confusion,
- Ensure that quantification and measurement standards are practical and effective;
- Increase the per-ton payment for CO2e to drive more significant farmer change, and;
- Ensure farmer eligibility is inclusive, regardless of adjusted gross income.
Jorgenson also advocated the continued support of soy-based biodiesel, citing the 86% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as one of the most practical and cost-effective ways the Biden Administration can immediately address climate change.
“The Iowa Soybean Association and its farmer members and industry partners are optimistic about the role biodiesel, public-private partnerships, and climate-smart agriculture can play in addressing current and future challenges,” said Jorgenson.
View the entire letter from ISA.
The Iowa Soybean Association (www.iasoybeans.com) is “Driven To Deliver” increased soybean demand through market development and new uses, farmer-focused research and results, timely information and know-how and policy initiatives enabling farmers and the industry to flourish. Founded in 1964 by farmers to serve farmers, ISA is governed by a board of 22 farmers to advocate on behalf of the state’s 40,000 soybean producers, including more than 12,000 ISA farmer members and industry stakeholders.