How farmers can fight climate change

This Iowan's farm has become a campaign stop for top 2020 candidates. This is why he argues that farmers could be at the forefront of the fight against climate change.

The farmer and attorney is an advocate for the idea of farmers working with each other to find creative solutions on issues related to climate change

Matt Russell wants farmers like himself to start leading the fight against climate change. According to Russell, farmers can make simple operational changes to be more carbon-neutral and have a positive impact on the environment. Since calling for these changes, Russell’s Iowa farm has become a campaign stop for 2020 presidential candidates. Russell says he would like to see the conversation about climate change move beyond the political lines in the sand that have sometimes been drawn.

Helping solve the problem efficiently and effectively

Climate change is a political issue as well, and many of the Democratic presidential candidates roaming Iowa have come up with rural plans and climate change proposals. A tour of candidate websites indicates many are supportive of biofuels and of other forms of alternative energy. But while many of the presidential candidates talk about policies and in some cases use climate change as political talking points, Russell is taking a more basic approach. He’s talking to farmers and trying to find ways of allowing them to solve problems.

Changing the economics to reward those farmers who are providing environmental services

“Right now, there's not a penny of federal dollars that are focused on delivering climate services. There's soil health, regenerative agriculture, there's some really good conservation stuff, but none of it is focused on climate. And we really have farmers across the political spectrum come together and say, "No, look, this is a big problem. That's what we do, solve problems every day. So, if you want our help, we can lead and solve this problem.” Beto O'Rourke asked to come to the farm, and then Senator Harris, and then, you know, Vice President Joe Biden in November. And so, it’s really been snowballing since”, Matt Russell tells Brut.

The message has showed up in every debate

Russell spent a decade working at the Drake University Agricultural Law Center before he left to head Iowa Interfaith Power & Light. He led a panel on climate change at a conference on soil that was sponsored by the Drake center.