When policymakers talk about “green jobs,” they tend to default to examples in solar power, wind and other sources of renewable energy—or perhaps manufacturing and supply chain management. They’re less likely to talk about agriculture.
That’s a mistake. The way we eat and produce food is a significant contributor to climate change. In fact, agriculture is estimated to contribute between 13% and 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Any “Green New Deal” needs to not only enable innovation around sustainable agriculture, but also encourage farmers to adopt new, environmentally friendly technologies.
American agriculture is starting to enter the digital age. For years, agriculture lagged behind as one of the least-digitized of any major industry in America. That’s starting to change. More than half of farmers now use at least one “precision agriculture” tool that harnesses data to improve efficiency on the farm….
For example, data-driven tools can dramatically reduce the use of toxic pesticides by tracking insect populations on a farm….or help farmers monitor water and energy use through sensors and cloud technology….More generally, they can help farmers grow more food with fewer resources.
This is where the Green New Deal comes in….[A]lthough farmers have strong incentives to adopt these sustainable agricultural technologies, many cannot afford them….With net farm incomes down 50% since 2013, many farmers simply do not have the capital to invest in these cost-saving, environmentally friendly solutions.
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