Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the USDA will invest $300 million through the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda to improve measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and carbon sequestration in climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The new investments, made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act, will advance priorities set by the broader Federal Strategy to Advance Greenhouse Gas Measurement and Monitoring for the Agriculture and Forest Sectors, which was also released today as draft for public input and outlines a strategic framework and priority actions for improving accuracy and reducing uncertainty in GHG estimates.
The Inflation Reduction Act provided nearly $20 billion in overall investments to advance climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices. Today’s announcement and the broader federal strategy will support the effective implementation of these climate and conservation investments and help further the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of achieving a 50-52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
The Inflation Reduction Act – the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history – tasked the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) with quantifying and tracking carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions and gathering field-based data to evaluate the effectiveness of climate-smart mitigation practices in reducing these emissions.
To carry out these tasks, USDA has identified seven key focus areas that reflect the framework outlined by the federal strategy and are based on substantial input from stakeholders:
- Establish and advance a Soil Carbon Monitoring and Research Network with a perennial biomass component
- Establish and advance a Greenhouse Gas Research Network
- Expand data management, infrastructure and capacity
- Improve models and tools for assessing greenhouse gas outcomes at operational, state, regional, and national scales
- Improve NRCS conservation practice standards and implementation data to reflect greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities
- Improve temporal and spatial coverage of national conservation activity data
- Strengthen the Greenhouse Gas Inventory and Assessment Program of USDA
See fact sheet for additional details.
USDA is continuing to engage stakeholders and technical experts to help inform this effort. Those interested in learning more about the effort are encouraged to register for a webinar that USDA is holding at 1 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on July 21, 2023.
Additionally, USDA is currently seeking comment on the draft Federal Strategy published today, on behalf of the Biden-Harris Administration. The report and Request for Information are available here: www.regulations.gov/docket/USDA-2023-0009. The strategy was prepared by USDA, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, National Aeronautics and Space Administration and others on behalf of the Greenhouse Gas Monitoring and Measurement Interagency Working Group. The draft Federal Strategy presents a federal plan to enhance measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification in agriculture and forestry through five areas. These include improved greenhouse gas and soil carbon monitoring, alignment and enhancement of related research, utilization of advanced models and tools for better estimations, and prompt and accurate collection of conservation data including through better use of remote sensing data.
The Inflation Reduction Act is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Investing in America agenda and economic strategy to grow the American economy by rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, driving over $500 billion in private sector manufacturing investments to date, creating good-paying jobs, and building a clean energy economy to tackle the climate crisis and make our communities more resilient. The Inflation Reduction Act provided $19.5 billion for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service conservation programs, including this $300 million investment for measurement, monitoring, reporting and verification efforts.
This announcement builds on USDA’s ongoing efforts to support climate-smart agriculture, including through innovative projects being funded by USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity. USDA is investing more than $3.1 billion in 141 projects through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities effort, all with a plan to measure, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas benefits. This Inflation Reduction Act investment will connect to other ongoing efforts, including an $8 million investment by NRCS in outreach for soil carbon sampling and a $10 million investment by USDA’s Farm Service Agency in climate outcomes of the Conservation Reserve Program.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration and the leadership of Secretary Vilsack, USDA is committed to transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America.
Originally shared by the USDA via Biodiesel Magazine, July 12, 2023. Edited July 12, 2023 for purpose and clarity.