Vilsack: Creating revenue streams key to farmer friendly climate solutions

US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says despite the threat climate change poses, it has the potential to positively change the direction of US agriculture and create prosperity in rural communities.

“Opportunity number one is to take the lead in this issue of sustainability, regenerative practices, climate change, soil health and basically show the way to the rest of the country. We can step up first, we can step up fast and we can be successful.”

During a Free Range Conversation Wednesday hosted by American Farmland Trust Vilsack says creating additional revenue streams will be key for farmers.

“Creating ways in which agricultural waste can be converted into a multitude of new products, to movie away from fossil fuels, to create a more circular and more regenerative economy. We think American agriculture is ready for this.”

And he says tailoring carbon market programs to accommodate farmers is a good way to do that.

“The carbon markets today aren’t really designed for farmers. There is a lot of paperwork, a bit of a hassle, the credit is not as valuable as it needs to be in order to get people’s attention. So, very few of those credits have been invested, if you will, in agriculture.”

He says USDA plans to utilize their conservation resources to increase adoption of 45 climate smart ag practices, ramp up the Conservation Reserve Program, invest in climate hubs, improve local and regional foods systems, create a civilian climate accord, design climate smart decision tools for farmers and more.  

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