CalCAN advances policies that scale up agricultural solutions to the climate crisis
The imperative to take bold action to address our global climate crisis has never been more clear. The world’s preeminent climate scientists issued a “code red” for humanity in August 2021, warning that we cannot delay any longer in curbing emissions in all areas of our lives. State and federal government policy is the way we can achieve the systemic change needed to shift to a clean energy economy and reduce emissions while also implementing strategies for coping with the impacts that we are already seeing. There is also a critical role for public policy in addressing the historical injustices and systemic disenfranchisement of farmers of color and women farmers.
California farmers and ranchers are on the front lines of climate change.
The stakes are high for California farmers and ranchers and for the nation which relies on them for an abundant supply of vegetables, fruits, nuts and dairy products. Extreme heat and weather events, new pests and diseases, water scarcity, and catastrophic wildfires are just some of the impacts made worse by climate change. There are an increasing number of farmers and ranchers who recognize these threats. Given access to credible and practical information, tools and technical and financial support, farmers and ranchers will find ways to adapt and become more resilient.
California farmers and ranchers can contribute powerful and unique climate solutions.
Many of the agricultural management practices that improve agricultural resilience also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon in soil and woody plants. 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. Public policy, programs and funding can catalyze a widespread shift to on-farm technologies and practices that both curb climate change and prepare growers for an altered climate future.
The CalCAN coalition serves as the voice of sustainable and organic agriculture on state and federal climate and agriculture policy issues. Below are the types of policies in which we engage to contribute to the transition to a vibrant, equitable, diversified and healthy California agricultural system for the 21st century.
The state of California has launched a suite of innovative Climate Smart Agriculture programs. These programs—the first of their kind in the country—provide grants for farmers and ranchers to adopt to adopt practices or infrastructure that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and often have other environmental and health benefits.
Robust technical assistance is necessary to support farmers and ranchers in making a transition to climate-friendly farm management practice, especially for small and mid-sized producers, farmers of color, women and beginning farmers who often lack the in-house resources to access grant programs and implement new practices. Read more here.
Research, Planning & Climate Goals
California has one of the world’s most ambitious climate goals: A greenhouse gas emissions reduction of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. Read here about the state’s science-based climate mitigation plans to reach the goal, and the role agriculture can play.
California is experiencing the accelerating impacts of climate change such as catastrophic wildfires, extreme heat and weather events, sea level rise, new pests and diseases, and more. Read here about plans to shore up resilience throughout the state, including on our working lands.