The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has pledged $1 billion (€880 million) in partnerships with farmers, ranchers and forest owners to promote climate-friendly practices in the country’s agricultural sector.
The Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program will finance large-scale pilot farming projects that incorporate processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and sequester carbon dioxide in the soil.
America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations.
According to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, the agricultural sector accounts for more than 10 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.
The initiative is part of President Joe Biden’s climate policy, which aims to halve greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality across the United States by 2050.See Also:Why the U.S. Lags Behind Other Western Nations on Carbon Tax Issue
The program is also targeted to create new market opportunities for American agricultural and forestry products produced by innovative methods and measure the environmental benefit they incorporate.
“America’s farmers, ranchers and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
“USDA will provide targeted funding to meet national and global demand and expand market opportunities for climate-smart commodities to increase the competitive advantage of American producers,” he added.
The introduction of climate-friendly solutions could prove beneficial to farmers and the climate alike, Vilsack argued.
“They’ve seen it [climate change], they feel it and they’ve been hurt by it,” he said. “We’re trying to incentivize the creation of climate-smart commodities that hold higher value in the marketplace that farmers can generate additional profit from.”
The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), a coalition of more than 80 farming and livestock associations and cooperatives, hailed the program’s initiative and versatility.
“[We] strongly commend USDA for advancing a voluntary, incentive-based approach to deploy climate-smart practices on working lands through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities,” FACA said in a press release.
“FACA stressed in previous comments submitted to USDA the importance of building flexibility into the initiative to acknowledge that agriculture and forestry look very different in different regions, and we’re pleased USDA’s plan appears to welcome a diversity of practices and approaches,” FACA added.
The program’s funds will be channeled toward projects submitted by a wide range of public and private entities, including state, local and tribal governments, small businesses, nonprofit and for-profit organizations, and universities and colleges.
Each approved project will receive up to $100 million (€88 million) in financing.