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Lind: Save the soil It’s our future

By MICHAEL LIND
Advocate for regenerative agriculture

The 2022 midterm elections seem to have confirmed a fear many Americans share — that we have become a divided nation. Our Congress is split, with Democrats keeping control of the Senate and Republicans taking the House, each holding only slim majorities.

In a time when many issues feel politicized and divisive, it’s easy to be disheartened by another two years of gridlock. But I see this as an opportunity, because our next farm bill is on the legislative horizon.

The farm bill is one of the few pieces of legislation that is relatively bipartisan. Passed roughly every five years, it dictates how our food is grown, distributed and accessed. But both parties have typically favored large-scale, industrial agriculture, which has further consolidated our food system, hollowed out rural communities and degraded the land.

Right now, America is losing a staggering 5.6 million tons of topsoil each year — about four pickup loads per acre.

At this rate, scientists estimate we only have 55 to 60 harvests left until the soil is too depleted to grow food and fiber.

But there is reason for hope.

The conversation around agriculture, food and the environment is changing. Agriculture that builds healthy soil is increasingly being regarded as a key solution to climate change, drought, flooding, air and water quality issues, rural decline, and more.

Champions on both sides of the aisle recognize that regenerative agriculture is good for farmers, for our communities and economies, for the health of our families, and for the future of the environment.

Regenerative farmers and ranchers can ensure the resilience and longevity of American agriculture. They just need the support and resources.

Regenerate America, which maintains a web presence at regenerateamerica.com, is a diverse, bipartisan coalition of more than 100 companies and farmer groups with more than 10,000 public supporters. It is led by the national nonprofit Kiss the Ground.

Together, we are working to transform federal policy and programs, via the farm bill, so farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to improve soil health.

Americans are tired of political gridlock. Now is the time to build enough political will to create real change in our food and ag system — for the farm, for the food, for the future.

Soil is our common ground. Together, we can regenerate America.

Michael Lind makes his home in Dallas, Oregon, where he is trying to gradually ease his way into retirement.

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