Bonnie says USDA working to deploy climate-smart funds
USDA Under Secretary Robert Bonnie says the department is working to rapidly distribute funds to help farmers implement climate-smart practices.
He tells Brownfield $2.8 billion has been allocated for the Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities program. “We’ve set out a calendar this fall to negotiate those contracts and move those dollars so that we can begin to get those dollars flowing before next planting season,” he said.
The department announced $1 billion for the new pilot program in February, but then recently raised the amount after commodity organizations expressed overwhelming interest.
Bonnie says this program addresses climate-related concerns through the adoption of conservation practices. “We’ve got to tap into existing networks – folks that work directly with farmers and are trusted by farmers – to be able to provide incentives and technical assistance about how to get these practices in place.”
The first pool of funding generated more than 450 applications for projects ranging from $5 million-to-$100 million.