USDA has $3 billion to help farmers adopt green practices, support school meal programs

The programs, set to go into effect next year, would provide incentives for producers who adopt climate-friendly practices.
by Heather Chapman,

The Agriculture Department announced Tuesday a $3 billion investment in large-scale pilot projects to create new markets for sustainably produced agricultural products. The programs, set to go into effect next year, would provide incentives for producers who adopt climate-friendly practices. Here’s the breakdown:

  • $500 million to help farmers recover from drought and encourage the adoption of thriftier water management practices.
  • Up to $500 million to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever.
  • $500 million in relief from agricultural market disruption such as supply chain difficulties.
  • Up to $1.5 billion to help school food programs deal with supply chain disruptions.

The money will be released in a series of pilot projects funded by the Commodity Credit Corp., a Depression-era program that allows the federal government to borrow as much as $30 billion from the federal treasury for programs meant to stabilize farm income.

In a University of Colorado speech, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stressed that the programs are primarily about increasing commodity production and trade, and were not carbon banks, carbon markets, or conservation programs. Such a distinction allows the CCC to pay for the programs, Chuck Abbott writes for the Food and Environment Reporting Network.

USDA will accept public comments on the funding until Nov. 1.

USDA has $3 billion to help farmers adopt green practices, support school meal programs

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