Impact of COVID-19 on Agriculture

USDA Announces Climate-Smart Agriculture Initiative

News / Newsline September 30, 2021

Credit: Arkansas Farm Bureau, used with permission.  

The Department of Agriculture this week announced the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative. Micheal Clements shares more on what that means for farmers and ranchers.

Clements: The Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack seeks to promote climate-smart agricultural practices. Andrew Walmsley, American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Congressional Relations Director, says the announcement is the start of that process.

Walmsley: So, Secretary Vilsack announced a new initiative, hoping to promote the opportunities around climate-smart agricultural practices and commodities. And what the Secretary’s announcement does is kick off a process to start a series of pilot projects that will inform the department to hopefully provide information to Congress for future initiatives around the development of climate-smart ag practices.

Clements: The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, founded last year, is a diverse group of organizations focused on voluntary, incentive-based climate solutions. Walmsley says the group provided recommendations to USDA.

Walmsley: One of the recommendations from the group was the development of pilot projects with USDA to identify barriers in participation in carbon markets or to access new opportunities with climate-smart ag practices. And so, a lot of those recommendations from the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, we see in the announcement that the Secretary made this week.

Clements: For farmers and ranchers, he says they are part of the solution when it comes to climate policy.

Walmsley: This initiative hopefully provides answers to a lot of the questions that are out there, and especially focusing on pilot projects, it’s the idea of walking before you run to try to answer some of those questions. So, there is a comment period that USDA is seeking more information on, and many of your ag commodity groups and the Food and Agriculture [Climate] Alliance will be weighing in with USDA to make sure the program is focused on the farmer-friendly practices.

Clements: Learn more at fb.org. Micheal Clements, Washington.

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