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USDA to spend $1 billion on agriculture tasks tackling local weather change

A wind farm shares area with corn fields in Latimer, Iowa, U.S.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

The U.S. Division of Agriculture will spend $1 billion on tasks for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to make use of practices that curb climate-changing greenhouse fuel emissions or seize and retailer carbon, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack introduced Monday.

The funding comes after President Joe Biden called on U.S. farmers to lead the way in offsetting emissions and pledged to slash emissions from the agriculture sector in half by 2030. The sector accounts for greater than 10% of U.S. emissions, in keeping with estimates from the Environmental Safety Company. A spread of private and non-private entities can apply for grants from $5 million to $100 million, the company mentioned, together with state, native and tribal governments, nonprofits, small companies and schools.

For a lot of U.S. farmers who’ve endured major losses from worsening floods, storms and droughts, addressing local weather change has grow to be a matter of survival. The United Nations’ scientific panel on local weather change has warned that people should change the way in which they produce meals and use land to keep away from the worst penalties of local weather change.

“They’ve seen it, they really feel it, they usually’ve been harm by it,” Vilsack mentioned on Monday at Lincoln College, a traditionally Black land-grant college in Jefferson Metropolis, Missouri.

Some farmers, ranchers and foresters have already embraced climate-friendly practices that seize current carbon and retailer it in soil. Nonetheless, others are cautious of upfront prices and unsure returns that might fluctuate throughout totally different farming operations and areas.

“We’re making an attempt to incentivize the creation of climate-smart commodities that maintain increased worth within the market that farmers can generate extra revenue from,” Vilsack mentioned.

“That is about creating home markets that may present American agriculture and forestry with the assets to do what they know to do greatest — to feed the world, whereas serving as nice stewards of our land and water.”

The USDA’s program will deal with tasks that implement climate-friendly conservation practices, akin to no-till, cowl crops and rotational grazing, in addition to measure and monitor greenhouse fuel emissions from agricultural operations and seize and retailer carbon.

The company defines a climate-smart commodity as an agricultural commodity produced utilizing farming, ranching or forestry practices that slash emissions or sequester carbon.

The Partnerships for Local weather-Sensible Commodities program will take cash from the company’s Commodity Credit score Company, which offers as much as $30 billion in annual funding from the the U.S. Treasury to help farm earnings.

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