As discussions in Paris continue on climate change, I’m excited to be with a California delegation in the Netherlands focusing on Climate Smart Agriculture – defined as an approach for developing the technical, policy and investment conditions for food security amidst climate change.
California and the Netherlands have a lot to share in regards to mitigating and adapting to a changing climate. Like California, the Netherlands is planning ahead to deal with issues associated with rising temperatures, extreme events and a rising sea level. In addition, the Netherlands has an important share of its economy tied to the agricultural sector – it’s the world’s second largest exporter of food and agricultural products. Water quality and water management (surface and groundwater) is critical – with more the 70 percent of the nation below sea-level and with almost 55 percent of the Dutch territory in agricultural production.
In the Netherlands today we had an opportunity to meet with U.S. Ambassador Timothy Broas and embassy representatives for an update on the close collaboration occurring between our countries.
We also met with the Ministry of Economic Affairs to better understand Dutch agricultural production, nutrient management, climate smart agriculture practices, and overall agricultural policy. Sustainability is a key component to everything the Dutch are doing in the farming sector.
Our last visits included a discussion with a regional water board and a tour of JUB Holland, a 105 year old flower producer with innovative practices that include bulb planting in the green spaces of cities and other municipalities.
I’m confident that the many similarities between California and the Netherlands in food production, agricultural research and ground water management will lead to great collaboration on climate smart agriculture – benefitting our farmers through innovative on-farm practices and advanced technology.
Secretary Ross is in the Netherlands as part of a Climate Smart Agriculture Policy Mission funded in part by CDFA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. This program is a collaboration between the Ministry of Economic Affairs of the Netherlands and CDFA to develop strategies and management practices to enable specialty crop growers to adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.