The nation’s farms get big bucks to go “climate-smart”

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biden did that nations farms get big bucks to go green

Photo Credit: Dan Meyers

Agriculture produces about 10 percent of U.S. carbon emissions, and it’s been a priority of Biden’s climate plan to nudge the nation’s farmers and ranchers toward greener, less carbon-intensive ways of producing food.

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Article Contents

The move

The Democrats used their marquee climate bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, to authorize funding to jump-start the transition of American agriculture toward less carbon-intensive practices. In total, the IRA aims to spend roughly $20 billion on climate smart agriculture over the next eight years, and will also target $300 million to develop more reliable and accurate standards for measuring, monitoring, reporting and verifying greenhouse gas emissions reductions in agriculture.

The impact

The money will bankroll farmers’ transition to practices the USDA deems climate-smart, like planting cover crops, reducing tilling and rotating cattle grazing zones, all of which can reduce and sequester emissions of atmosphere-warming carbon, nitrous oxide and methane.

The upshot

Biden’s climate agenda for agriculture relies heavily on a voluntary transition prodded along by large-scale incentives like the ones found in the IRA. The approach has been highly popular with farm groups, who prefer incentive-based approaches over punitive regulations. However, some climate advocates are skeptical of the program’s real potential to reduce emissions; once the USDA develops clearer measuring standards, both climate advocates and investors looking to green their supply chains may be granted more certainty. Meanwhile, the IRA money faces a more existential threat from congressional Republicans who hope to tap some of it to fund other priorities in the next farm bill, which is slated to be reauthorized later this year.



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