The Organic Farmers Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group representing U.S. organic farmers, said Tuesday it has received responses from two Democratic presidential candidates following its forum in Iowa last month.
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the sole presidential candidate to attend the forum, titled, “Combating Climate Change with Organic and Regenerative Agriculture,” which was attended by 50 organic farmers. (See the forum on YouTube here.)
Now, two other candidates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have submitted written responses to the questions posed by the organic farmers at the event.
Each candidate identified the need for the government to provide incentives to farmers to introduce regenerative practices that can help combat global issues like climate change.
“As president,” said Warren’s response, “I will lead a full-out effort to decarbonize the agricultural sector and rebuild our soil and water by paying farmers for using sustainable farming practices, expanding research and development in regenerative techniques, and building demand for locally-grown, sustainable farm products.”
Buttigieg referenced his climate change plan and the place that carbon sequestration in soil holds within that framework.
“My administration will also improve soil health and promote policies to keep our environment safe and healthy,” Buttigieg stated. “I will provide opportunities for farmers to get paid for sequestering carbon in their soil, including through reduced and no tillage of soil, cover crops, precision nitrogen management, improved grazing systems, and science-based crop rotation plans.”
The candidates differed on the specific strategies their administrations would utilize to increase the implementation of regenerative agriculture across the United States.
Warren expressed the need for reinvestment in land grant universities in particular to shift their research focus to “evaluating farmers’ ideas to decarbonize the agricultural sector, including on breeds, seeds, and methods of farming that will empower us to meet benchmarks in the Green New Deal.”
Buttigieg instead focused on organic integrity and consumer faith in the organic label.
“Continued growth in and demand for organic foods by consumers is an incredibly important part of the agricultural and rural economies,” said his response. “I understand—as any Secretary of Agriculture in my administration will also understand–that the relationship to the consumer is absolutely critical for organic markets to succeed.”
Both candidates state they will commit to hiring a Secretary of Agriculture that supports regenerative organic agriculture.