USDA announced the formal implementation of the $3.1 billion Climate Smart Initiative last week. The amount is a whopping three times more than the agency initially estimated. It will go toward 141 pilot projects encouraging producers to adopt climate-mitigating practices on working lands. USDA says 29 projects are already in progress that involve 45 major commodities.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says farming is no longer just about what food is produced but how it’s produced. House Republicans have questioned the agency’s authority to create and fund the initiative, even advocating for reviving Obama-era spending limits for how much USDA can spend without congressional approval.
The largest recipient of the fund is a project at Virginia Tech that will pay farmers in four states — Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Virginia — $100 per acre to implement climate-smart practices for crop and livestock production.
Read more on the Climate Smart Initiative and USDA funding here.
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