The agriculture industry has more to worry about than the sequester and federal spending levels. In order to address the global demands of an expanding consumer base, farmers must double food production in the next 40 years, and it has to be done with less water, less land, and in a more environmentally friendly way.
Traditional agricultural models must change to meet increasingly complex challenges in the marketplace. Consumers are more interested than ever before in how and where their food is produced, and this gives the industry an opportunity to develop new products and open new markets that will drive it through the 21st century.
In addition to these challenges, agriculture must be prepared to meet emerging global and national concerns: safe and abundant water supplies; secure and reliable labor force; balance between pesticide regulation and crop protection; open and accessible foreign markets. And, of course, rural communities must be prepared to fight for infrastructure investments needed to remain globally competitive.
PACE actively works on each of these issues for our clients and is prepared to adapt to changing political environments in the years to come. We continue to be active on funding issues pertinent to the agriculture industry including specialty crop pests and supplemental funding during times of price collapse. We engage Members of Congress and federal agencies on regulatory and compliance issues on varying topics in the industry ranging from air quality standards to education on appropriate enforcement timelines. And we are leaders in the effort to modernize tax policy to reflect the specific needs of American farmers.
All of these challenges must be pursued in an environment of decreasing congressional awareness of the agricultural industry. More than ever before, Members of Congress hail from urban or suburban districts, where few, if any, understand the challenges faced by the modern-day farmer. This need to educate and inform policy makers on Capitol Hill is perhaps the most important fight farmers face.