AGree Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition
AGree’s Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition is harnessing the power of big data improve farmers’ profitability and environmental outcomes.
The AGree Economic and Environmental Risk Coalition (the AGree E2 Coalition or Coalition)—which is managed by Meridian Institute—connects leaders across diverse sectors to build trust, develop creative solutions, and take legislative and regulatory action. Coalition members include: farmers; researchers; former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) leadership; and representatives from farmer-based, environmental, and conservation NGOs.
During 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, the AGree E2 Coalition successfully lobbied for provisions that improve agricultural data collection and the adoption of cover crops, both of which were included in the bill’s final text.
Since farm bill passage, the AGree E2 Coalition has worked to strengthen USDA guidance on cover crops, which are important for soil health and water quality. Previously, a farmer’s crop insurance coverage could be jeopardized by planting a cover crop, even though this practice can reduce risk. The Coalition met with USDA, advocated for support on Capitol Hill, and pushed for guidance that doesn’t disincentivize cover crop use. We are pleased that as of July 2019, USDA guidance has clarified this!
To make these important policy changes a reality, AGree used the Meridian Implementation Fund, a separate 501(c)4 organization that supports lobbying efforts. Coalition recommendations were introduced as stand-alone legislation after we educated members of Congress about these issues, and we fought hard to keep them in the Farm Bill. We have also made use of strategic communications to support our policy efforts, including advertising in ag media, op-ed placement, and social media amplification.