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Ag leaders say carbon reduction efforts should not fall to producers alone

An air quality specialist says there is an underlying sustainability issue in agriculture that needs to be addressed that is equally or even more important than reducing emissions.

Dr. Frank Mitloehner at the University of California-Davis says 80,000 of the two million farmers and ranchers in the U.S. generate two-thirds of all the food produced in the country, and their average age is 60.

“What if those 80,000 farmers say you know what, there’s too much pressure on us as a group and I’m not interested in passing that along to the next generation,” he says.

He believes there needs to be investment from the federal level to support those producers and protect the food supply just has there has been for supporting health efforts this past year.

“The food producers are just as important as those providing us with health and helping maintain that,” he says.

Dr. Marty Matlock, head of University of Arkansas’ Resiliency Center, says agriculture’s lack of diversity leaves the food supply chain vulnerable if barriers to entry remain and obstruct young producers from operating. 

“Unless you are born into a farming family, it’s almost impossible to become a farmer,” he says.

Ag leaders discussed how carbon reduction efforts need to transcend farm size, location and have consumer support to be successful in the future as part of this morning’s Virtual Ag and Policy Summit hosted by AgriPulse.

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