USDA Invests $300 Million in Advancing Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

by | Jul 24, 2023

A below shot of green, leafy trees reaching towards the horizon

(Credit: Canva Pro)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)is investing $300 million to improve the measurement, monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration in climate-smart agriculture and forestry. This move is part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which allocated nearly $20 billion to advance climate-smart practices.

The investment from the USDA is part of President Biden’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50% to 52% by 2030.

Data-Driven Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

Agriculture and forestry play a critical role in combating climate impacts, and the Biden Administration aims to ensure that natural solutions in these sectors are working effectively. The new USDA investment aims to strengthen the scientific foundation of climate-smart programs by improving data and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions. By supporting data-driven approaches, businesses can enhance accuracy, reduce uncertainty, and gain greater confidence in sustainability estimates, enabling them to make well-informed decisions and more sustainable strategies.

John Podesta, senior advisor to the president for clean energy innovation and implementation, highlighted the need to ensure that natural solutions in agriculture and forestry are working effectively to tackle the climate crisis.

The USDA’s investment of $300 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to measure and verify emissions is a significant step in the right direction. By supporting technological advancements and research, the USDA aims to create a Soil Carbon Monitoring and Research Network, a Greenhouse Gas Research Network, and improve data management and infrastructure to better assess greenhouse gas outcomes at various scales.

Seven Key Focus Areas for Climate Solutions

The USDA has outlined seven key focus areas to effectively implement climate-smart initiatives.

These areas include establishing a Soil Carbon Monitoring and Research Network, advancing a Greenhouse Gas Research Network, expanding data management and infrastructure, improving models for assessing greenhouse gas outcomes, enhancing conservation practice standards, enhancing national conservation activity data coverage, and strengthening the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Assessment Program. These focus areas are based on stakeholder input and aligned with the federal strategy for advancing sustainability efforts in agriculture and forestry.

The USDA gave stakeholders and technical experts the opportunity to participate in a webinar earlier this month and they can provide comments on the draft federal strategy published on the USDA’s website. Collaboration and input from various stakeholders will be instrumental in driving sustainable solutions for a greener and more environmentally conscious agricultural and forestry sector.

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