Donald Trump, the future POTUS, has already created a swarm of speculation around many controversial policy plans just days within his shocking election win.
And while he's sworn to supporters he's going to "make America great again," by building walls and creating jobs, there are many other policy just outside the media spotlight that deserve attention, including those that dictate how Trump could impact agriculture and farming.
What You Need to Know About Farming in the U.S.
A lot of us take for granted the availability of fresh, safe food we have at our fingertips. Food production is a labor-intensive industry that requires careful regulation to ensure our food supply is adequate and untainted, and most of us consume food from the American agriculture system on a daily basis.
The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, aka the NCFC, also reports the dependence of the American agriculture industry on a "unique" structure and labor-force, and cites the importance of the H2-A guest worker program.
H2-A is a legal temporary agricultural program under Section 218 of the Immigration and Nationality Act that allows agricultural employers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor for seasonal work.
And a 2014 agriculture labor study by the American Farm Bureau Federation echoes what many American farmers have expressed as a concern: there is a large demand for agriculture workers, and due to the farmer's inability to increase prices, there is little domestic desire to fill these jobs.
How Trump Can Impact American Agriculture
This means that if Trump follows through on his promise to deport the some 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US, it is likely that many immigrant agriculture workers may be deported.
And of course, there's the infamous Mexico-US border wall, one of Trump's signature ambitions for the oval office. While not completely obvious at first, the wall could be, as Mr. Trump would put it, "really bad" for the food and restaurant industry.
By closing the boarder off and decimating the workforce, the disruption to the current agriculture structure and system is expected to cause grain production to drop by 3%, meat by 27%, vegetables by 31% and fruit by a staggering 61%.
The 2014 Farm Bureau study indicates that this could leave the agriculture industry without an adequate work force.
And Then There's the EPA
And then there's the EPA (the US Environmental Protection Agency), which regulates water safety and pesticide safety on crops, among other farm practices.
Trump has stated he believes regulations created by the EPA have been a "disgrace" and has selected top climate-change denier Myron Ebell to head the EPA transition team. Myron Ebell, who does not have any educational background in science, is infamously known to be a lead climate skeptic who opposes clean energy (and the Endangered Species Act).
He has plans of pulling funding from the Paris Climate Agreement, a United Nations document committing countries around the world to fighting climate change. Although he may not have the potential to actually fully dismantle the EPA, he will likely hold the power to defund certain programs like the Clean Energy Act to the point of negligibility.
This could be the gateway to a lack of regulations for water and pesticide regulation, and zero adaptation and mitigation efforts of climate change, encouraging increased flooding, droughts, and future crop failures for decades to come.
Moreover, without a regulation on carbon emissions, plants may change in growth rates and decrease in nutritional values.
How You Can Help
If the future of our planet and its agriculture systems are of interest to you, check out these resources from NRDC. And call your local legislators (find them on this list) and urge them to fight for policies to protect the future of our planet, and our farms and food.