Energy & Environment

Agriculture Department to put $1 billion toward climate-friendly farming

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest up to $1 billion in pilot projects that reduce planet-warming emissions or store carbon to prevent them from being released into the air.

The department announced its new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative on Monday, saying it will aim to support “climate-smart” farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. 

Practices that can receive funding under the initiative include reforestation and sustainable forest management,and feed management for animals to cut the amount of planet-warming glasses they belch. 

Funding for the project will come from the Commodity Credit Corporation, a government-owned corporation whose funds are used to implement programs established by Congress. 

“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,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement on the program.

It was met with some Republican pushback, as Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) accused the department of trying to get around Congress. 

“While I am a staunch supporter of conservation and believe farmers are the original conservationists, I write today with concerns that the USDA is using the Commodity Credit Corp. (CCC) account in an attempt to circumvent the Farm Bill process where programs are established by and with congressional consent,” he wrote in a letter to Vilsack on Monday. 

Tags Agriculture carbon neutral Climate change Roger Marshall Tom Vilsack USDA

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