Sep 29, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a $3 billion Comprehensive Investment Package to assist agricultural producers. These investments will include $500 million to support drought recovery and encourage the adoption of water-smart management practices, up to $500 million to prevent the spread of African Swine Fever, $500 million to provide relief from agricultural market disruption, and up to $1.5 billion to provide assistance to help schools respond to supply chain disruptions.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), these targeted investments will address unmet needs in our food system, and complement a suite of programs USDA is implementing in response to COVID-19, including the Department’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and the longer-term Build Back Better initiative designed to address supply chain vulnerabilities and transform our food system based on lessons from COVID-19. Funding will be made available from the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for these programs.
Additionally, Secretary Vilsack announced a request for information to seek public input on the Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Partnership Initiative, a new initiative to finance the deployment of climate-smart farming and forestry practices to aid in the marketing of climate-smart agricultural commodities.
The initiative will consist of pilot projects, providing incentives to implement climate-smart conservation practices on working lands and to quantify and monitor the carbon and greenhouse gas benefits associated with those practices.
USDA is requesting input be submitted by November 1, 2021, to include: the current state of climate-smart commodity markets, systems for quantification, options and criteria for evaluation, use of information collected, potential protocols, options for review and verification, and inclusion of historically underserved communities.
“The U.S. rice industry has long been a leader in conservation and sustainability and will continue to apply those same principles as we take a closer look at USDA’s Climate-Smart Partnership Initiative,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president government affairs. “USA Rice should be a good candidate to participate in this initiative and we will consult with our partners in the Rice Stewardship Partnership as we prepare to submit our comments in response to the USDA request.”