Rural Voices for Climate Change

By Matt Russell, matt.russell@drake.edu, State Food Policy Project Coordinator, Drake Agricultural Law Center

On March 30th, beginning at 2:00 p.m., the Center for Rural Affairs, Iowa Interfaith Power and Light, University of Northern Iowa's Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Bethesda Lutheran Church and Citizens Climate Lobby are hosting a discussion panel on climate change at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern Avenue, in Ames, Iowa.
 
It promises to be a significant event featuring perspectives from faith, farm, academic, environmental and small business communities on addressing the realities and impacts of climate change, and our opportunities and responsibilities to take meaningful action.
 
Farmers are great innovators and have a tremendous ethic for growing food, fuel, and fiber for local, national and global markets.  The world is clamoring for what Iowa farmers grow. Moreover, the world is beginning to clamor for solutions to climate change. And farmers can provide significant solutions.
 
The world needs to stop putting carbon into the air and start getting serious about pulling it out of the atmosphere and putting it back into the soil. Iowa farmers can help do this. We already have the tools, and a sturdy platform from which to innovate. Using cover crops, reducing tillage and planting shelter belts are among the many solutions that farmers have, and have had, to offer.
 
Farmers must step up and develop solutions to combat climate change. This is good business and good citizenship.  It is also the kind of cultural one-two punch that makes American farmers, Iowa farmers in particular, the best in the world when it comes to agriculture.