WASHINGTON, July 12, 2023 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the guidance of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, has made a momentous announcement today. A substantial investment of $300 million will be channeled through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to enhance the measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in the domains of climate-smart agriculture and forestry. These new funds, made available through the Inflation Reduction Act, will propel the priorities set forth by the broader Federal Strategy to Advance Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Monitoring for the Agriculture and Forest Sectors (PDF, 813 KB), which has been released as a draft for public input today. This comprehensive strategy outlines a framework for strategic actions aimed at improving the accuracy and reducing the uncertainty in greenhouse gas estimates.
The Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark investment of nearly $20 billion, is designed to promote climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices. The recent announcement, coupled with the overarching federal strategy, will effectively facilitate the implementation of climate and conservation investments, further bolstering President Biden’s ambitious goal of achieving a 50-52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, relative to the 2005 levels.
From the inception of the Biden-Harris Administration, there has been a resolute commitment to advancing climate-smart agriculture by enhancing the efficacy of existing programs. Central to this endeavor is the improvement of the scientific foundation upon which these initiatives rest. The latest USDA investment in enhancing data and measuring greenhouse gas emissions, made possible through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, is unparalleled in its scale and potential to enhance accuracy, reduce uncertainty, and instill greater confidence in these estimates. The approach is rooted in a data-driven mindset, continuously seeking improvement in climate-smart agriculture and forestry efforts.
According to John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, one of the critical technological challenges in addressing the climate crisis is ensuring the effectiveness of natural solutions in agriculture and forestry. The recent USDA announcement of $300 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to measure and verify emissions from these sectors marks a significant stride in the right direction.
Farmers and ranchers are at the forefront of the climate crisis, demonstrating unwavering dedication to finding solutions that protect and enhance our lands and waters. NCA Ali Zaidi emphasizes that President Biden has recognized the impact of our changing climate on rural communities from the very beginning of his Administration. The newly allocated funding and strategy will accelerate the development of data, science, and technological innovations to confront the crisis at hand. Moreover, it will enhance national greenhouse gas estimates in the agriculture and forestry sectors, making climate solutions more appealing to private sector investments.
The monumental Inflation Reduction Act, representing the largest-ever investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history, has entrusted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with the task of quantifying and tracking carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions. To accomplish this, USDA has identified seven key areas of focus, meticulously aligning with the framework outlined in the federal strategy and incorporating significant input from stakeholders:
- Establishing and advancing a Soil Carbon Monitoring and Research Network with a perennial biomass component.
- Establishing and advancing a Greenhouse Gas Research Network.
- Expanding data management, infrastructure, and capacity.
- Improving models and tools for assessing greenhouse gas outcomes at operational, state, regional, and national scales.
- Enhancing NRCS conservation practice standards and implementation data to reflect greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities.
- Enhancing temporal and spatial coverage of national conservation activity data.
- Strengthening the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Assessment Program of USDA.
For further details, refer to the fact sheet.
USDA continues to engage stakeholders and technical experts to glean insights and inform its ongoing efforts. Interested parties can participate in a webinar held by USDA at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 21, 2023, to gain further insights into the initiative.
In addition, USDA currently seeks feedback on the draft Federal Strategy, published on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration. The report and Request for Information can be accessed here: www.regulations.gov/docket/USDA-2023-0009. The strategy, jointly prepared by USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and other stakeholders through the Greenhouse Gas Monitoring and Measurement Interagency Working Group, presents a federal plan to enhance measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification in agriculture and forestry through five key areas. These include improved greenhouse gas and soil carbon monitoring, alignment and enhancement of related research, utilization of advanced models and tools for better estimations, and prompt and accurate collection of conservation data, including better use of remote sensing data.
The Inflation Reduction Act forms a crucial part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda and Bidenomics strategy, aimed at fostering economic growth from the grassroots and mid-level up. The strategy involves rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments to date, creating well-paying jobs, and developing a clean energy economy to combat the climate crisis and bolster community resilience. Within this framework, the Inflation Reduction Act has allocated $19.5 billion for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation programs, including the substantial $300 million investment for measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification efforts.
This announcement represents another stride in USDA’s commitment to promoting climate-smart agriculture, already evidenced through innovative projects funded by the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity. As part of this effort, USDA is investing over $3.1 billion in 141 projects that are geared towards measuring, monitoring, reporting, and verifying greenhouse gas benefits. The recent investment under the Inflation Reduction Act dovetails with other ongoing initiatives, including an $8 million investment by NRCS in outreach for soil carbon sampling and a $10 million investment by USDA’s Farm Service Agency in evaluating climate outcomes of the Conservation Reserve Program.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans positively each day in numerous ways. Under Secretary Vilsack’s leadership within the Biden-Harris administration, USDA remains committed to revolutionizing America’s food system with a heightened focus on resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, developing new markets and income streams for farmers and producers through climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in rural America’s infrastructure and clean energy capabilities, and prioritizing equity across the Department by dismantling systemic barriers and fostering a more representative workforce that mirrors America’s diversity.
Shannon Stansberry has been engaged in the business of raising chickens for more than 12 years. In 2016, she accomplished the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. At present, she tends to more than 80 chickens on her 4-hectare farm. Shannon regularly shares her insights and experience on how to raise healthy and contented chickens on the platform Typesofchickens.com