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Farmers Getting Support to Adapt to Climate Changes

Photo: Three generations of Burroughs family farmers
Photo: Three generations of Burroughs family farmers
October 8, 2012

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California farmers trying to adapt to climate change are getting some support. Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that will help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The bills create a public process for determining how cap-and-trade revenue will be spent, with some of the revenue going to sustainable agriculture activities.

Central Valley rancher Rosie Burroughs says she and other livestock and crop producers are on the front lines of climate change.

"When the weather gets hot, it has an effect on the grass, which has an effect on the cows' milk production, which then has an effect on milk, if weather's going to be hot and cold. It just has an effect on everything."

The Burroughs Family Farms have been in operation for more than 100 years in the Central Valley. Rosie hopes the legislation leads to funding for more research, for technical assistance, and for incentives to help farmers make the shift to the most efficient practices that have the least impact on the climate.

"For us, sustainability is the key. We need to find the best techniques and the best resources and the best practices."

The California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCAN) says agriculture can significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while providing additional environmental and health benefits. Two advisory committees to the California Air Resources Board found that agriculture can reduce its emissions by 31 to 57 percent.

Next month, the California Air Resources Board will move forward with the first auction of cap-and-trade allowances.

The bills include AB 1532 and SB 535.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA