By Clint Thompson
Count the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) as one organization applauding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for investing nearly $3 billion in selected projects under the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program.
“Secretary (Tom) Vilsack announced $2.8 billion in funding to help develop 70 projects that will advance climate smart agriculture practices,” said AFBF president Zippy Duvall. “These practices, they’ll help our farmers and ranchers advance their conservation goals through voluntary and market driven programs. We’re encouraged that these projects span 50 states and recognize the differences between regions, farm size and diversity of production in the United States.”
The initial projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities and provide direct benefits to production agriculture. Applicants submitted more than 450 project proposals in this first funding pool. The strength of the projects led the USDA to increase its investment from the initial $1 billion Vilsack announced earlier this year.
“AFBF is a founding member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA). That’s a partnership with more than 80 other food, agriculture, forestry and environmental groups,” Duvall said. “We are pleased that Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and Undersecretary Bonnie used FACA recommendations as a foundation when developing the partnerships for climate-smart commodities.”
The USDA will work with the applicants for the 70 identified projects to finalize the scope and funding levels in the upcoming months. A complete list of projects identified for this first round of funding is available at usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities.
“AFBF is looking forward to working with USDA and Congress on future climate-smart agriculture initiatives. We’ll continue to seek out other voluntary market-driven solutions that will help farmers and ranchers reach their conservation goals, while ensuring that we keep dinner on the table for families across America,” Duvall added.