American Sustainable Business Network and Over 200 Businesses Call on Congress to Advance Regenerative and Just Agriculture in the 2023 Farm Bill
Today, American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN), a movement builder organization committed to inform, connect, and mobilize the business and investor community toward a more sustainable economy, and over 200 businesses and organizations across industries and sectors called on Congress to pursue priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill that incentivize, support, and invest in regenerative and just agriculture.
Organized by ASBN, the Farm Bill priorities were established through careful deliberation by the stakeholder experts in its Regenerative Agriculture and Justice Working Group. The working group brings together business leaders from industries throughout the agricultural value chain, advocacy organizations, and groups representing farmers, workers, and frontline communities to advance public policies for a more regenerative, just, and equitable food and agricultural system.
“Companies are increasingly becoming interested in regenerative agriculture to ensure resilient supply chains while meeting growing consumer demand for agricultural goods that advance environmental, climate, and social welfare goals,” said David Levine, president and co-founder at ASBN. “Agriculture is a crucial industry for our society. Through the 2023 Farm Bill, Congress can provide the investments and incentives needed to transition to regenerative solutions that will support our farmers and ranchers, boost our economy, and solve for climate impacts.”
Looking to the future, businesses like MegaFood and Thousand Hill Lifetime Grazed, see the 2023 Farm Bill as a path toward securing a more resilient economy for the next generation.
“There has never been a more important time in history than now to act and address issues such as racial equality, justice, and the climate crisis,” said Andy Dahlen, CEO of MegaFood. “We are looking to the respected members of Congress to take seriously the 2023 Farm Bill priorities laid out in this letter and act to advance the cause of regenerative agriculture which holds the promise of far-reaching benefits for both people and planet into the future.”
“Supporting regenerative agriculture through funding for farm infrastructure, small and medium-scale processing, and local and regional supply chains is critical for the well-being of future generations and for building a resilient food system,”said Matt Maier, farmer, owner and regenerative renegade at Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed. “Studies have shown that regenerative agriculture and lifetime grazed cattle can sequester carbon, improve watersheds, and provide wildlife and pollinator habitats — all while enhancing rural economies. By supporting regenerative supply chains, the 2023 Farm Bill can help solve many of the issues surfacing within the current conventional agricultural model of highly concentrated animal feedlots.”
The letter also highlights the business, farmer, and economic case for Congress to advance regenerative and just agriculture and food systems in the 2023 Farm Bill. Member organization, Avocado Green Brands, explains that these perspectives not only complement each other, but can work together to create a more vibrant, regenerative economy.
“The time is now to invest in regenerative agriculture that will help stabilize our supply chains and create a more resilient economy and healthier planet for all,” said Mark Abrials, chief marketing officer and co-founder at Avocado Green Brands. “Good climate policy is good business policy.”
Another central component of the working group’s priorities calls for Congress to invest in increased funding for underrepresented and underserved farmers. The letter states that “Public policy must reflect that small-scale and discriminated-against people of color farmers have been practicing and refining regenerative agriculture and traditional ecological knowledge at the margins of society for centuries.” Member organization, Steward, understands that swift action is needed to ensure markets remain equitable, accessible and profitable for American farmers and ranchers.
“There’s a lot of overlap between regenerative, small-scale, and people of color farmers and ranchers,” said Ryan Anderson, senior vice president of services at Steward. “All of these communities have historically faced a lot of challenges in accessing the same USDA resources and support that large-scale industrial agriculture has benefitted from for decades. The 2023 Farm Bill is so important because it will ensure that the USDA makes significant and meaningful progress in shifting resources to these important producer groups, to the benefit of every American who wants to protect and expand our access to safe, healthy, and responsibly grown food.”
Regenerative agriculture is also vital in addressing the climate crisis, as well as rebuilding the health of our soil and restoring clean water. Soil under regenerative management can sequester a significant amount of CO2. For member organizations, Zego Foods and Northeast Carbon Alliance, regenerating soil health is essential to reducing climate impacts and creating and maintaining resilient food systems.
“Incentivizing the transition from conventional to regenerative practices is foundational to the White House initiative to improve the health of children and adults who rely on anti-hunger programs like the school lunch program and WIC,” said Colleen Kavanagh, CEO and founder of Zego Foods, LLC. “We can’t expect to improve them without improving the health of the soil and crops on which they rely.”
“Agriculture in the Northeast is unique — characterized by farms that are smaller than the national average but exceptional in their focus on climate-resilient agriculture and ability to access consumers in one of the country’s most heavily-populated areas,” said Ned Sullivan, president of the environmental organization Scenic Hudson and founder of the Northeast Carbon Alliance. “Along with the regenerative agriculture and justice priorities of ASBN, Congress can help ensure a bright future for U.S. farmers and all who depend on them for fresh, healthy food.”
Passed every five years, Farm Bill negotiations allow stakeholders to engage in the federal policies that shape America’s food and agricultural system. ASBN is proud to act as a conduit between sustainable businesses and lawmakers to provide resources that support regenerative agriculture and advance justice.
For more information on ASBN or to become a member, visit www.asbnetwork.org. To view the full list of priorities from the Regenerative Agriculture and Justice Working Group, click here. To receive the latest on key social and environmental legislation impacting the economy, follow us on Twitter at @theASBN.