Past President of the National Corn Growers Association and Plain City, Ohio grain farmer Fred Yoder was recognized today by President Obama as a “Champion for Change.” The official recognition, which takes place in the White House on a weekly basis, honors 12 ordinary Americans that are doing extraordinary things in their communities to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.
“As we take action to reduce carbon pollution and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy, we must also take action to prepare for the impacts of climate change we are already seeing, including more frequent and severe extreme weather,” said Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “This week, we look forward to welcoming Champions of Change who are doing smart, innovative work to protect the health, safety and prosperity of their communities in the face of climate change.”
“My passion is how we feed the hungry world by 2050,” Yoder said. “The thing I keep thinking about is that we have to do it on the same land mass, but do it better, so how do we keep making it better than it was before, but at the same time have high productivity and also provide some ecosystem services to the rest of the world that are valuable to them too.”
“When you mention climate change to farmers, they tend to get a little squeamish,” said Yoder during his panel discussion. “But if you frame it in a way to talk about weather patten changes and changes on their farm they are very much in agreement.”
“One of the areas that I think agriculture is underestimated is the huge potential that the industry can offer to do ecosystem services,” said Yoder. “There are good economic reasons for changing the way you raise crops and you can also mitigate enormous amounts of greenhouse gas while you’re doing it.”
Yoder also commented that “there is nothing like a 60-year drought to get people to really understand what we have been doing and what we are doing now” in agriculture, mentioning the drought of 2012 was less devastating that 1988 because of practices being used in modern farming.
A fourth-generation farmer, Yoder has been an advocate for many years, promoting agriculture as a solution to many of the sustainability challenges.