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A Better Way Forward for Food and Agriculture | Commentary

A Food, Farming and Healthy Environment Act would contain innovative and cost-effective solutions to tomorrow’s challenges, based on engagement of these diverse communities in meaningful discussions long before Congress begins writing its next round of legislation.

Such an act will incorporate: nutrition as well as food; environmental management as well as farming and ranching; local food systems as well as international trade; cutting-edge research as well as the use of high-tech information systems; urban as well as rural interests; and legal certainty for workers coupled with recognition of the importance of a skilled labor force.

We understand the political challenges of tackling such sweeping concerns, but we have seen first-hand the power of broad consultations in which a diversity of views and experiences are welcomed. Listening to a variety of perspectives has helped us to integrate issues that often occupy separate silos.

In the coming months, AGree will announce recommendations that will make these ideas more concrete. They will reflect the contributions of our diverse group of advisors and hundreds of other individuals and groups with whom we are engaged. We are charting a path forward for a better system that will result in sustained, long-term food and nutrition security for the United States as well as helping countries around the world to improve productivity and stability in the face of population and natural resource challenges.

Dan Glickman is former secretary of the Agriculture Department; Gary Hirshberg is co-founder and chairman of Stonyfield Farm; Jim Moseley is a farmer and former deputy secretary at the USDA; and Emmy Simmons is former assistant administrator for economic growth, agriculture and trade at the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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