WASHINGTON, Feb. 8, 2022 – Yesterday at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $1 billion in partnerships to support climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.
By financing pilot projects to create innovative and cost-effective market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forest products, Vilsack said “America’s farmers, ranchers and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations.”
“Whether it's leveraging our conservation programs, restoring our forests, accelerating the development of science-based solutions, investing in clean energy, or more, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will continue to be a partner in combating climate change, increasing agricultural productivity and improving rural America.”
See below for what they are saying:
Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow
“This is about partnering with farmers to tackle the climate crisis. It’s critical that we make sure that climate-friendly practices are profitable and practical for farmers – no matter what crop they produce, what region they’re in, or the size of their operation. The urgency of the climate crisis demands action, and I look forward to reviewing the feedback and data from these pilot projects, which will help inform the writing of the next farm bill."
House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott
“Making sure our farmers, ranchers, and foresters can take a leading role in fighting climate change is critical and something I have stressed since my first day as Chairman of our House Agriculture Committee. Today’s announcement by Secretary Tom Vilsack and the team at USDA is so meaningful to the agriculture industry because it will help create new and enhanced markets and let farmers, ranchers, and foresters market and produce their commodities in a climate-smart way. The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) gives Secretary Vilsack broad authorities, and I’m glad to see he is using those authorities to provide opportunities that are good, not only for the environment, but for producers' bottom lines.”
Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
“The more than 80 member organizations of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) 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. Members of the Alliance welcome USDA’s plan to partner with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and nongovernmental organizations through pilot projects and are pleased to see the program structured in a manner consistent with FACA recommendations. We share Secretary Vilsack’s optimism that this approach will support climate-smart commodities while unlocking new market opportunities and we believe it will build confidence in the climate benefits of advanced farming and forestry practices.”
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew
“NFU has long called for bold and cooperative action to rein in the climate crisis, and this announcement marks a key step in helping farmers and ranchers be part of the solution.
We appreciate that the climate-smart commodities opportunity is designed to be inclusive, collaborative, and focused on voluntary, incentive-based practices and approaches to conservation. NFU is hopeful these pilot projects will help develop new market opportunities for farmers, and we stand ready to work with the administration to ensure the pilot projects are successful.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall
“Farm Bureau commends efforts by USDA to address the challenges farmers and ranchers are facing in their attempts to adopt new and emerging climate-smart practices, as well as participate in developing climate marketing channels. Voluntary, incentive-based pilot projects are a great first step to identify barriers and ensure farmers and ranchers of all sizes can participate no matter where they are located or what they produce. We look forward to working with the administration, Congress and our members to develop bipartisan solutions that provide adequate CCC funding while also ensuring the longevity of programs that build on our longstanding commitment to sustainability.”
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives President Chuck Conner
“America’s farmer co-ops applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s announcement today of its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. This $1 billion investment in a voluntary, incentive-based program to promote climate friendly farming practices represents an important step in agriculture’s work to address climate change. We are pleased that USDA’s program aligns closely with the recommendations put forward last year by the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance. The new marketplace opportunities that this partnership creates will give America’s farmers, ranchers and growers a direct stake in efforts to address one of the most pressing issues faced by our country.”
National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern
“We applaud Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team at USDA for working to fashion the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative in a way that will provide significant opportunities for U.S. dairy producers of all sizes to build on their proactive sustainability work. This new initiative will support voluntary, producer-led efforts to increase on-farm adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies and practices. Such efforts are essential to help U.S. dairy farmers fulfill their environmental stewardship goals to become greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050 and improve water quality while optimizing water use. NMPF looks forward to working with USDA to make this program a success —and a springboard for additional achievements.”
American Forests President and CEO Jad Daley
We're #ForestProud the new @USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will put working forests & wood to work on climate change. This is how we can deliver #Forests4Climate.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition Policy Director Eric Deeble
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is heartened to see today’s announcement launching the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, which will finance pilot projects to create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use ‘climate-smart’ practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. We applaud the administration’s decision to make awards in two stages, which will help ensure the pilots are broadly accessible to organizations and efforts at a range of scales, as well as the inclusion of a priority on small-scale and historically underserved producer communities in the criteria for both funding pools.”
Walton Family Foundation Environment Program Director Moira McDonald
“As we think about meeting the very clear and present challenges of climate change and addressing the serious problems it poses to our nation’s water quality and supply, this week’s announcement by Secretary Vilsack will help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners continue to do their part. These types of investments point us in the right direction to ensure that the U.S. agriculture sector is resilient, all while protecting water and soil health. We are optimistic that this effort will lead the way to solutions that work for people and nature.”
Solutions from the Land President Ernie Shea
“This exciting new program provides another opportunity and pathway to enable farmers, ranchers, forest landowners and other producers to implement climate smart systems and practices that sustainably intensify production, improve resilience and reduce and/or sequester greenhouse gas. We are especially pleased to see that the program will utilize market approaches to reward producers for the climate smart practices they deploy and the benefits they verify. We are also pleased to learn that the new pilot demonstration program will encourage large, landscape scale projects and will be open to all types of producers, including early adopters as well as small and historically underserved producers.”
National Association of State Departments of Agriculture
NASDA celebrates @USDA’s $1 billion investment in the Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, which will support voluntary and market-based incentives for climate-smart U.S. agricultural and forestry products.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.