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Cooperative Conservation Increases Agricultural Productivity….And More!
|GHI is delighted to welcome The 9b Group to our collaborative partnership as we forge solutions to sustainably feed the world. The 9b Group founders bring over 60 years of combined experience working in the agricultural conservation arena, as well as a wealth of knowledge about how agricultural policy can foster conservation and improve lives of rural producers. Look for The 9b Group’s contributions on conservation in the U.S., past and present, in our upcoming 2015 Global Agricultural Productivity Report® (GAP Report®): Building Sustainable Breadbaskets.|
By Dave White, Partner and Co-Founder, 9b Group*
American farmers and ranchers will play a leading role in feeding a global population of more than 9 billion people in a few short decades. The 9b Group’s goal is to help clients who want to work to ensure that this growing population inhabiting the Earth in 2050 will have the same agricultural bounty, clean air, abundant and clean water, plentiful wildlife and healthy environment we enjoy today. That challenge is complex, but the opportunity is great. The agriculture community must continue to find ways to increase agricultural production through technological advances and research while also safeguarding our environment and ensuring economic vitality – all while confronting the realities of an increasingly erratic climate.
The U.S. conservation infrastructure is vibrant and unmatched anywhere in the world. It was built by dedicated farmers, scientists, and policymakers who were willing to take risks and learn from their mistakes. It reaches into virtually every community in America with technical and financial assistance that is targeted to local conditions and local needs.
Over the years, we have learned that the best way to achieve conservation progress – and ensure the continued economic vitality of our agricultural sector – is through cooperative partnerships between farmers, ranchers, conservationists, and private businesses. We know this approach works.
The recently announced U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision NOT to list the Greater Sage Grouse under the Endangered Species Act was, to a large extent, based upon the superb conservation progress made in creating and protecting sage grouse habitat on private lands. The lead agency in this initiative, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) of the USDA, launched the Sage Grouse Initiative in 2010. Using existing conservation programs and providing technical assistance, while working with over 100 partner institutions and thousands of ranchers, NRCS and its partners have ensured that Sage Grouse habitat is now conserved.
As the example of the Greater Sage Grouse demonstrates, there is growing recognition by producers, consumers, and policymakers that we will not be able to meet global demand for food and agriculture products unless we conserve our natural resource base and use it as efficiently as possible. With the help of technological innovations and voluntary incentive-based conservation practices, the future for agricultural conservation and productivity in America is bright.
*As former Chief and a 30-year veteran of the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) Dave White created and led numerous initiatives focused on water quality, wildlife, and soil health, along with on-the-ground experience implementing conservation practices. Today he is Partner and Co-Founder of 9b Group, along with Tina May and Pelham Straughn. Tina May brings an impressive record that includes not only being the lead author of the conservation title during the Agricultural Act of 2014, but also led the farm bill implementation team at USDA after her service in the Senate. Pelham Straughn brings 17 years of experience on Capitol Hill, including working for three different Agriculture Committee Chairmen on three different farm bills which culminated in leading Chairman Frank Lucas’s policy team from 2009-2014. With a focus on agriculture conservation and sustainability, 9b Group works with clients to identify goals, develop solutions, and execute comprehensive strategies for all agricultural, sustainability and conservation needs.