BOISE, Idaho (Aug. 26, 2021) — Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed a proclamation Tuesday declaring the decade of 2020-2030 as The Decade of Agriculture in Idaho. He is the first U.S. governor to issue such a proclamation.
Gov. Little’s announcement is part of an effort spearheaded by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers in Action, which calls upon leaders across the food and agriculture sector to endorse a shared vision: 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.
According to Dairy West CEO Karianne Fallow, the economic, social, and environmental demands of a growing global population require resilient and creative solutions. Introducing Gov. Little at a signing ceremony attended by leaders of the Idaho ag sector, Fallow said that as the backbone of the state's economy and a national leader, Idaho agriculture plays an integral role in an economically and ecologically sustainable future.
“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.”
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,” she 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.”
Gov. 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 said farmers and ranchers just need to have the right signals.
“Everybody wants clean water, clean air, and efficient, sustainable agriculture,” Gov. 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.