The main idea Biden’s climate plan brings for farmers is “new income streams.” That means helping farmers diversify their sources of income and make both their income and crops more resilient in the face of changing economies and a changing climate.
The Biden plan proposes several major initiatives: one is low-interest financing to help farmers adopt new equipment or farming practices; another is voluntary carbon markets that pay farmers for sequestering CO2 on their land or reducing their CO2, nitrous oxide, or methane emissions — which they can do with new equipment and practices that become affordable with the low-interest financing.
A third proposal in the Biden plan is R+D funding and demonstration projects to grow the US’s leadership in agricultural innovation. This would provide farmers with new precision agriculture tools to increase yields, decrease spending on fertilizer, pesticides, and herbicides, and make crops more resilient to droughts.
The Biden plan also considers the needs of farm workers, who can expect to see more thorough implementation of rules on pay, living conditions, and exposure to toxics and heat. The plan also proposes creating a system to give legal status to workers currently without it, based on agricultural work history. And Biden promises to crack down on historical USDA discrimination against black farmers.
Finally, many farmers have suffered because of Trump’s international trade wars. The Biden plan lays out a vision for trade policies that protect US farmers’ global competitiveness, while making the US farm system the first to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
[This mini-blog is part of Picturing Policy, a new project to help voters visualize what climate policy proposals would look like for their lives. See PicturingPolicy.org and @PicturingPolicy on Instagram and Twitter. Images by Violet Kitchen.]