USDA climate-smart agriculture projects now top $3 billion

Dec 11, 2022, 8:45 PM | Updated: Dec 12, 2022, 11:00 am
FILE - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks about the Aim for Climate Initiative with Unit...

FILE - U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack speaks about the Aim for Climate Initiative with United Arab Emirates Minister for Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almeiri, in the UAE Pavilion at the COP27 U.N. Climate Summit, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, on Nov. 11, 2022. The federal government on Monday, Dec. 12, announced another $325 million for agricultural projects that are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Vilsack announced the latest round of funding at Tuskegee University, a historically Black college in Alabama, and said it’s vital that small operations benefit from the program. (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell, File)

(AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The federal government on Monday announced another $325 million for agricultural projects that are intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest list of 71 recipients for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Climate-Smart Commodities program primarily involve small and underserved farmers and ranchers. The payments follow $2.8 billion awarded in September to 70 projects, mostly larger-scale efforts backed by universities, businesses and agricultural groups.

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the latest round of funding at Tuskegee University, a historically Black college in Alabama, saying it’s vital that small operations benefit from the program.

“It’s important that we send a message that it’s not about the size of your operation, that you don’t only benefit from the programs like this if you’re a large-scale producer,” Vilsack told The Associated Press. “If you’re a producer that historically has not been able to participate fully and completely in programs at USDA, that this program is going to be different.”

The goal of the program is to use financial incentives to expand markets for producers who implement practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 1,000 proposals have been submitted to the USDA to participate in the program.

The underserved farmers and ranchers who would benefit from the latest funding are those who are beginners, from socially disadvantaged communities, veterans and those with limited financial resources.

The projects announced Monday, with funding ranging from $250,000 to $4.9 million, include:

— $4.9 million to promote urban, mainly Black, farmers who grow and market crops in Alabama, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi and South Carolina.

— $4.9 million to help small and socially disadvantaged farmers in San Diego County, California, by improving soil health through applying compost, reducing tillage of the land and growing trees and shrubs.

— $3 million to help farmers in over 60 Texas counties adopt practices such as regenerative agriculture, which builds healthy soil that is more resistant to drought and heat.

— $4.9 million to help farmers in 10 states and on tribal land grow barley on land using regenerative practices and to pay a premium for crops from those farms.

Agriculture causes an estimated 11% of the nation’s climate-warming emissions, and President Joe Biden has set a goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by half in the U.S. by 2030.

Timothy Searchinger, a senor research scholar at Princeton University’s Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment, said he welcomes the surge in federal spending to learn how to reduce agricultural emissions and implement practices. However, even as those ideas are tried out in dozens of spots around the country, it still will take years to study the results and replicate what works.

“There are lots of promising ideas, but they are generally not in broad use,” Searchinger said. “There are lots of good ideas about what you can do but they haven’t been proven out.”

After the climate-smart money is awarded, Vilsack said there would be a concerted effort to monitor what programs succeeded and those that struggled so the efforts could be replicated elsewhere in the U.S. and other parts of the world.

“We think this is an effort to really unify this effort on climate, not make it a divisive approach but one that unifies American agriculture and forest landowners and a concerted effort to improve income opportunities, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to store carbon, to create healthier soils and clean water,” Vilsack said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Police: 2 Pakistani Taliban commanders killed in northwest

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani police killed two commanders from a militant group in the country’s northwest, a local officer said Saturday. Pakistan has increased its operations against militants after a surge in violence by the Pakistani Taliban, or TTP, particularly in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The TTP ended its cease-fire with the government […]
1 day ago
FILE - John Lydon attends the LA premiere of "Punk" at SIR in Los Angeles, Monday, March 4, 2019. P...
Associated Press

Punk icon Lydon fails in bid to play Eurovision Song Contest

LONDON (AP) — Punk icon John Lydon has failed in his attempt to become Ireland’s entry for the pop music competition the Eurovision Song Contest. The former Sex Pistols frontman entered the song “Hawaii” with his post-punk band Public Image Ltd. in the national runoff for May’s continent-wide contest. Jurors and viewers of a televised […]
1 day ago
A vendor sits at a flea market in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)...
Associated Press

Dozens of soldiers freed in Russia-Ukraine prisoner swap

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Dozens of Russian and Ukrainian prisoners of war have returned home following a prisoner swap, officials on both sides said Saturday. Top Ukrainian presidential aide Andriy Yermak said in a Telegram post that 116 Ukrainians were freed. He said the released POWs include troops who held out in Mariupol during Moscow’s […]
1 day ago
FILE - The British frigate HMS Portland heads through the Suez canal, in Ismailia, Egypt Wednesday,...
Associated Press

Royal Navy sailors hospitalized after drinking water on ship

LONDON (AP) — A Royal Navy warship has returned to port in Britain after several sailors got sick from the vessel’s drinking water, officials said Saturday The navy said frigate HMS Portland had returned to its base at Portsmouth on England’s south coast on Friday “as a precautionary measure, following an issue with one of […]
1 day ago
FILE - An American flag is flown next to the Chinese national emblem during a welcome ceremony at t...
Associated Press

China plays down Blinken’s canceled visit over balloon

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — China played down the cancellation of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken after a large Chinese balloon suspected of conducting surveillance on U.S. military sites roiled diplomatic relations, saying that neither side had formally announced any such plan. “In actuality, the U.S. and China have never announced any […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Ohio train derailment causes causes fire, home evacuations

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A train derailment and resulting large fire prompted an evacuation order in an Ohio village near the Pennsylvania state line on Friday night, covering the area in billows of smoke lit orange by the flames below. Officials in East Palestine, Ohio, notified residents that an evacuation order remained in place […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
USDA climate-smart agriculture projects now top $3 billion