By Jared Strong, Iowa Capital Dispatch
BOONE, Iowa — The more than $1 billion the federal government is devoting to voluntary efforts to reduce agriculture’s adverse effects on the environment is a better long-term strategy than mandating new rules for farmers, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said Tuesday.
While state and federal officials in the United States have tended to avoid implementing rules that might force farmers to radically change their long-held practices, the European Union has specific requirements about crop rotations, permanent pastures and the use of buffer strips and other conservation practices that improve soil quality. Continue reading here.
Also written by Jared Strong: USDA plans ‘historic’ funding to help struggling farmers and develop new ag leaders, Iowa Capital Dispatch
FROM THE NEBRASKA EXAMINER
- Nebraska gets $87.7 million in additional funds for broadband expansion, by Paul Hammel
- Nebraska unemployment ticks up as separate report ranks Huskers in top 10 states for labor productivity, by Cindy Gonzalez
- Nebraska legislative team drills down into details of spending $335 million in North, South Omaha, by Cindy Gonzalez
MORE ON HIGH-SPEED-INTERNET INFRASTRUCTURE
Treasury Announces Five Additional Capital Projects Fund Awards to Increase Access to Affordable, High-Speed Internet
Connecticut, Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and Arkansas are approved to receive approximately $408 million under the American Rescue Plan and will connect more than 90,000 homes and businesses to affordable, high-speed internet
INFLATION REDUCTION ACT BENEFITS EVERYONE
Republicans voted ‘no’ on the climate bill. Their states will get billions of dollars from it anyway, by Ella Nilsen, CNN
More than $370 billion of the law will go to tax credits for clean electricity, vehicles and energy efficient appliances. And that money will trickle down to Democrat- and Republican-controlled states alike, said Bob Keefe, executive director of nonpartisan clean energy group E2. “It’s going to be harder for red states to say clean energy jobs are bogus and that it’s something for California when it’s something that’s happening in their backyards,” Keefe told CNN.
The law goes far beyond financing for solar and wind energy. There’s also money for hydrogen fuel and funds to incentivize power plants to capture their planet-warming emissions before they hit the air. It also contains billions of dollars to fund a new program that will crack down on the fossil fuel industry’s methane emissions — a powerful greenhouse gas that scientists say must be controlled.
FROM FARM PROGRESS
Project looks to measure carbon absorption, emissions daily: Study examines how grazing livestock influences carbon, water and biodiversity.
Climate change has brought much scrutiny on the beef industry. But is it justified? Scientists have been studying grazing management and its impact on ecological function, and “there is evidence to suggest, if it’s well managed, cattle can be very edifying to land and improve its function versus deteriorating or extracting,” says Jason Rowntree, the C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture in the Michigan State University Department of Animal Science. “But the science is pretty isolated in terms of geography.”