USDA hopes to address climate change while benefiting farmers and ranchers

Published: May. 21, 2021 at 5:43 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The United States Department of Agriculture is issuing a strategy outlining how agriculture producers and forest managers can help the environment.

The plan lays out goals and priorities to address climate change in a way that would be beneficial to ag producers. The plan was developed at the direction of the Biden administration, and would incentivize farmers for carbon conserving practices.

Eric Jennings, president of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, said that he prefers an incentive program over a regulatory program, and believes more farmers and ranchers would practice carbon conservation under this strategy.

”Incentive programs from the government can help you afford to do those,” Jennings said. “That provides tremendous benefits to the range health, soil health, and that in turn helps the wildlife habitat with both large animals like deer and antelope and small animals like birds.”

U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has said that implementing this plan will require increased USDA staffing and more funding for agricultural research.

Jennings hopes the federal government can work with ag producers to create both a healthy environment and a thriving ag industry.

”As long as the farmers and ranchers are trusting their partner, in this case, the U.S. government, then I think they will adopt these practices and improve the environment.”

The USDA also hopes for a continued role for biofuels, like ethanol, which would help both the ag industry and the environment.

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