Guest Post: Ag's Role in the Climate Revolution—A Farmer2Farmer Recap
Earlier this month at Farmer2Farmer V, POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin presented alongside Farmers Business Network℠ CEO Amol Deshpande during a well-attended breakout session on agriculture and the climate revolution. Time constraints prevented them from addressing each and every audience question, so we figured we’d share responses to some of the top questions and concerns we heard in Omaha.
POET Founder and CEO Jeff Broin presents alongside FBN CEO Amol Deshpande during "Agriculture's Critical Role in the Climate Revolution," a Lunch & Learn breakout session during Farmer2Farmer V in Omaha.
Sustainability has become a critical issue for everyone, especially for those working in agriculture. How are farmers rewarded for adopting regenerative agriculture practices that can reduce and offset CO2 emissions, support the water cycle, etc.?
The truth is this is still a work in progress. Farmers have historically been at the front lines as stewards of one of our most precious resources—the land. As Big Oil grew and took away our use of renewable products, farmers were put in a difficult position and developed a bad reputation. The oil industry spends billions of dollars each year perpetuating these false narratives. We need to work together to turn around this perception, which will position farmers to be rewarded for their hard work toward sustainability.
Many of the rewards for farmers to practice sustainable agriculture come from their desire to leave the world a better place. We work with countless generational producers who have a desire to leave the soil and water in better shape for their children and grandchildren. While there are also some federal, state and local policies which provide incentives to farmers for practicing sustainable agriculture, there is certainly more that can be done.
You acknowledged that agriculture is not the problem—we are the solution. How do we change the mindset so people recognize what we’re doing and what our potential is? What can we do to better align all our efforts around climate solutions?
We need to work together across many industries with the same voice and same messaging. Associations like Growth Energy and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance are doing important work carrying our messages to policymakers, the media and the general public. Consider joining an organization, sharing your message on social media, donating to a Political Action Committee (PAC), reaching out to your elected officials and correcting any misinformation you may see or hear.
How can POET and other organizations realistically fight to reduce our dependence on oil when the oil industry controls so much money within our economy? What can we really do to effect change and bring market dependency back to agriculture?
This is an important effort that takes lots of time, attention and financial resources. POET has team members dedicated to fighting this effort every day, and we’ve made progress over the years, including the approval of year-round E15 nationally earlier this summer and the approval of sales in NY state this fall. We are focused on telling our story to key audiences and engaging in the political process through direct meetings with the administration and Congress, but we need your help telling your story and financing the PACs that make this work possible.
Government subsidies and “mandates” are two reasons the general public—including some farmers—are not on board with renewable fuels. But how big of a role do subsidies and mandates actually play in the profitability of renewables in general and, more specifically, ethanol?
This is a common misconception about the biofuels industry and we need your help setting the record straight. Today, the grain-based ethanol industry receives zero federal subsidies. This is one of the reasons we’re a threat to the status quo. Meanwhile the oil industry gets billions in subsidies every year. If we can create a truly free market in the fuel industry, ethanol will win out over oil because we’re affordable, environmentally friendly and American-made.
The United States is already ahead of many other countries when it comes to supporting a clean environment. How are we going to lead in a way that helps change the rest of the world?
We need to be leaders in addressing climate change through sustainable agriculture and promote the impact that is achievable if we work together toward common goals. By sharing industry best practices globally, we can expedite needed changes that will help advance our climate goals. The U.S. has led and will continue to lead the way in agricultural practices, but with that comes the responsibility to help lift our peers across the globe.
POET was recently part of a delegation representing biofuels and American farmers at the UN Climate Change Conference. The delegation used the opportunity to speak to the power of biofuels and agriculture as a solution to the climate crisis to countries around the world. In addition, POET’s nonprofit organization, Seeds of Change, works to provide education, increase the use of renewables and empower communities throughout the world.
How can we get other farmers to use E15? Just as important, how can we get retailers to sell E15?
Use higher blends of ethanol at the pump whenever possible and encourage your friends and family to do so as well! Ask your retailers for more ethanol and spread the word to use the fuels. Auto manufacturers will deliver the cars if consumers demand them and retailers will deliver the fuel if consumers demand them. Always be on the lookout for misconceptions and help correct the record when you run into misinformation.
Learn more about POET's leadership in the biofuels industry
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The views expressed in this article are the author's alone and not those of Farmer's Business Network, Inc., its affiliates or members.