California farmers and ranchers can contribute powerful and unique climate solutions.
Many California farmers and ranchers have embraced their role in responding to the climate crisis by shifting to practices that reduce gas emissions, increase carbon sinks and improve our air and water quality overall—all while staying in the business of producing food and fiber. “Climate smart” practices often also provide other health and environmental benefits such as water conservation, improved air and water quality, and enhanced wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
Some of the most powerful strategies that growers are using to reduce on-farm emissions include:
- Improving soil health
- Implementing water use efficiency measures
- Increasing biodiversity
- Shifting to manure management practices on livestock operations that reduce methane emissions
- Producing renewable energy
- Conserving farmland to limit urban development
To invest in these agricultural strategies, California has launched a suite of Climate Smart Agriculture programs that have the potential to transform the way we do the business of agriculture. Hundreds of millions of dollars has been invested in programs to save water and energy on farms, protect agricultural lands at risk of development, increase carbon sinks in our agricultural soils and reduce potent methane emissions from dairies and livestock operations.
While these early investments are an important start, California must deepen these efforts to succeed in transforming agriculture. Our long-term food security and environmental health depend on California prioritizing sustainable agricultural solutions to climate change.
It is clear that California cannot achieve its 2030 climate change targets without transformative, sustainable agricultural solutions to greenhouse gas mitigation. With sufficient resources, farmers and ranchers can deliver these unique solutions.