Written by: Kimberly White

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) has released a new film showcasing the urgency needed to fight the climate crisis. Released on the heels of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) release of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL), the short docudrama highlights the challenges farmers face with a changing climate and their potential to be agents for change. 

Deeming climate change to be one of the greatest challenges of this generation, “30 Harvests” follows the plight of Texas farmer, Jay Hill, and soil scientist, Megan Kaiser. The film title, 30 Harvests, is the number of crop cycles left before 2050 when the global population is expected to reach 9 billion. 

“The next 30 years are the most important in the history of agriculture. Food production will need to increase by 70% to feed the world by 2050. How do we nourish a growing population while our farmable land is shrinking?” said Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, USFRA. “30 Harvests captures the passion and hope that our farmers have in providing a dependable source of healthy food while addressing economic and environmental concerns for current and future generations.”

Farmers are on the frontlines of climate change impacts with extreme weather and increasingly unpredictable seasons. Regions with increased drought frequency and duration will face a decline in food production. Following Hurricane Florence in 2018, North Carolina farmers suffered more than $1.1 billion in losses. In the United States, the food and agriculture sector contributes trillions of dollars and employs more than 22 million people. 

“As farmers, we need to let the world know that we’re on the front lines of climate change,” said Hill. “If you think that we’re not scared of a changing environment, then you’ve got it wrong.”

The agriculture sector produces approximately 8% of U.S. CO2 emissions, but the USFRA reports that the agriculture sector has the opportunity to sequester more carbon than what is emitted each year. Farmers and ranchers have the potential to curb their impact by adopting climate-smart practices and making their farms more resilient by building healthier soils through planting cover crops, no-till agriculture, and designing diverse agroecosystems.

For the USFRA, “30 Harvests” is a call to action for industry leaders to come together to work towards solutions to the climate crisis.

“This is a call to leaders in food, finance and science to be part of the solution to co-create sustainable food systems with U.S. farmers and ranchers,” said Fitzgerald. “We’re starting with climate change and how we can pull down carbon on our farms. Our hope is that one day soon, we can be the first sector in our country that is carbon neutral and over time, helping offset for other sectors.”