European Food Forum Event: “Fireside chat on sustainable food systems with Robert Bonnie USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation”

European Food Forum Event: “Fireside chat on sustainable food systems with Robert Bonnie USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation”
European Parliament, Brussels (BE), 26th September 2023

The imperative for sustainable food systems was highlighted recently at the European Food Forum, which hosted a fireside chat with Robert Bonnie, the USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Reduction of CO2 emissions does not necessarily clash with the interests of producers, nor does it inherently require reductions in total production and producers’ financial security. Actions aimed at environmental protection (e.g. fire prevention, soil health, methane capture) contribute to the resilience of farming, and consumer demands for sustainable products are an opportunity to create financial value in a sustainable agricultural system.

To get more producers on board, the USDA is harnessing the power of support programmes that provide stability and security. Emphasis on the impacts of each action means progress is visible and effectiveness clearly demonstrated. Moreover, USDA aims to provide farmers with tools that can predict changes in the supply-and-demand equilibrium and forecast emissions, actively including them in the process.

The common thread connecting different approaches worldwide is scientific data. Benefits of transparency can only be achieved through data sharing and standardisation, and the role of governments in this endeavour remains to be seen. What was evident from the meeting is the importance of not simply creating value for producers in an economy of sustainable farming, but also maintaining that value in the long term.  

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