Little Proclaims The 20s As The Decade Of Agriculture In Idaho

Photo: Dairy West

Earlier this week, Idaho Governor Brad Little proclaimed this the Decade of Agriculture in the Gem state. Tuesday’s proclamation is part of an effort spearheaded by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action, calling upon leaders across the food and agriculture sector to endorse a shared vision of a resilient, restorative, economically viable, and climate-smart agricultural system… that produces abundant and nutritious food, natural fiber, and clean energy for a sustainable, vibrant, and prosperous America.

Dairy West CEO Karianne Fallow said during this week’s signing ceremony that the economic, social, and
environmental demands of a growing global population require resilient and creative solutions.

“I feel really privileged to work for dairy farmers, because they care about feeding the world with safe and nutritious food,” Fallow said. “And I know that dairy farmers are not alone in that goal. Farmers and ranchers across the country and across our great state are doing the same every day. As representatives of food production, we are stronger when we are working together. And, in fact, I would argue that we have an obligation to do so, because consumers around the world are continually looking to us to be the solution to some of the biggest problems facing our world.”

Little is the first U.S. governor to issue such a proclamation.

USFRA CEO Erin Fitzgerald said the decade of agriculture requires unprecedented commitment.

“It is a clarion call to figure out how we can nourish our neighbors and do so with less resources to invest in the sector and mobilize climate-smart solutions,” Fitzgerald said. “We have done this before, when we have invested in agriculture after the Civil War, after the Dust Bowl, and after World War II. We unleashed unprecedented economic growth through agriculture. The world is looking for solutions, and what they’re asking for is a decade of action.”

Governor Little said the state is already engaged in many sustainable practices and investing in much-needed research to inform the future.

“Change is inevitable; adaptation and survival are optional,” he said. “The people that are still in agriculture in this state all did that.  They adapted to change. There’s not a family farm or ranch or food-processing facility that hasn’t done incredible work, whether it’s through their own innovation, whether it’s research from one our great research institutions, or whether it’s from just plain old common sense about what they needed to do to survive.”

The Governor added farmers and ranchers just need to have the right signals.

“Everybody wants clean water, clean air, and efficient, sustainable agriculture,” Little said. “But the best signal you can give to agriculture is profit as a motivator. If they can see profit out there — and farmers and ranchers are more than willing to take on a little risk, particularly if it’s going to make them feel good and their families feel good — then they will do that.”

More than 60 Idaho organizations — including the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, at least a half-dozen state ag commissions, and more than 40 associations representing agriculture and related sectors — have voiced support for the initiative.

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