NASDA’s McKinney Talks ‘Climate-Smart Agriculture’ and Directing Policy for Farmers

The term “Climate-Smart Agriculture” has received a lot of news coverage recently, and those are the latest buzz words in farming. That’s why an ag organization in Washington D.C. is working to make sure the industry is leading the direction on climate-related policies.

“You can walk and chew gum at the same time, and I think that’s probably a good analogy on what we have to do.”

That’s Ted McKinney, who is CEO of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture or NASDA (NAZZ-duh) for short. He says NASDA and other ag organizations are working to control the narrative on “climate-smart agriculture.”.

“A lot of that is what farmers are already doing: no till or minimum till farming, planting cover crops, using judicial amounts of pesticides and fertilizer – all the things that a lot of farmers are already doing is climate smart ag.”

However, he’s concerned that environmental groups are the ones trying to beat the ag industry to the punch in setting up their standards and certifications for crops and livestock.

“My worry though, is that we’re so focused, or ‘crazed’ might be the better word with getting climate fixed, that we’re losing sight of the more important of the goals which is sustain and grow productivity. We have to double the current output of food from today to 2050. The last time I checked, you got to use a lot of different tools to get that.”

That’s why he and others are proposing that the ag industry establish their own voluntary, incentive-based climate standards and certifications as guidelines to follow. McKinney says the ag industry needs to act before environmental groups and those outside the ag industry can create and legislate their own climate policies that may hurt farmers financially.

“So, it is an exciting time, but so too are a lot of the forces that counter that. In times of crisis, whoever you are, you never lose the opportunity to take advantage of a crisis. There are some nefarious activities going out there we got to watch out.”

Nearly two years ago, NASDA and other ag organizations established the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance to define and promote climate policies that not only help the environment – but also, benefit America’s farmers.

Story provided by NAFB News Service and C.J. Miller / Hoosier Ag Today, Lafayette, Indiana