Several questions remain on USDA’s approach to climate smart agriculture

The USDA continues its farmer-led approach to climate smart agriculture, but the agriculture industry still has questions.

USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie says the agency is trying to figure out how to best monitor and measure newly implemented climate smart farming practices.

“We need to know what practices are happening where, the impacts on climate and productivity, because we think we can get productivity gains for agriculture here as well.”

Missouri Soybean CEO Gary Wheeler says USDA should also recognize early adopters of on-farm conservation and sustainability efforts. Bonnie says that’s a work in progress.

“Frankly, we need better data on that. Part of the investment we’re making in our inventory system is to better understand where all of those practices are, how long they’ve been going and what their impacts have been on soil carbon and other properties.”

Missouri Pork Association CEO Don Nikodim says there are still unanswered questions about how markets will be built for USDA’s climate-smart solutions.

“He kept talking about building markets for this. That’s fine, but you have to find people willing to pay for that, too as opposed to the government subsidizing it.”

Brownfield interviewed Bonnie and Missouri ag industry leaders at a St. Louis Agribusiness Council event in Jefferson City this week.

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