Farm Bills, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Covid-19, food security, public benefits, soil erosion, agricultural land preservation, water resources, conservation, carbon sequestration, farmer compliance, Climate Stewardship Act

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Many people believe that once the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, life will return to the way it was. This belief is both unrealistic and dangerous. It is unrealistic because the virus will be around for years if not indefinitely. The timeframe for the worst of the pandemic will depend on our ability to administer effective vaccines worldwide and the public’s willingness to accept continued social distancing in the meantime. The damage done to public health, the economy and individuals is already substantial and will get worse. Recovery will be slow and incomplete. The belief that life will return to the old normal is dangerous because it removes incentives to make changes to the environment and the economy that are necessary to respond effectively to the next pandemic, to save the planet from the worst effects of climate change on agriculture and other sectors of life and to avoid future economic and social disintegration. Returning to the way it was may be the beginning of the end.