WASHINGTON, April 1, 2021 — Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it is requesting public input from interested parties, including potential customers and interested stakeholders, to help create a new Rural Renewable Energy Pilot Program. To ensure a diverse group of voices are heard, USDA is seeking written comments and will host a public listening session on April 22, 2021.
“When we invest in creating new sources of renewable energy, we invest in rebuilding the middle class by creating good-paying jobs in rural America,” USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson said. “To meet this goal, we must put rural communities at the heart of climate action and climate-smart solutions, and that begins with getting feedback from a broad, diverse set of voices from the start.” Continue reading here.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
- Black farmers say decades of discriminatory practices by USDA forced many out of business, ABC13
- House Bill Would Bar Racial Favoritism At USDA, by Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming
Some 95% of U.S. farmers are white, according to USDA data. Hispanics make up 3% of farmers. Native American farmers are more numerous than Black farmers, but each group represents less than 2% of the U.S. total. A century ago, one in six farmers was Black. Activists say racism drove Blacks out of farming.
- Also written by Chuck Abbot: Agriculture may be ‘first and best’ place for climate gains, says Vilsack
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE CLIMATE ALLIANCE REPORT
Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance Expands Membership, Drills Down on Policy Recommendations, National Farmers Union News Release
[In February] the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) announced expanding membership and new policy working groups focused on developing a set of more specific policy proposals that drill down on the 40+ recommendations released by FACA in November 2020. FACA’s eight founding members — American Farm Bureau Federation (co-chair), Environmental Defense Fund (co-chair), FMI – The Food Industry Association, National Alliance of Forest Owners, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (co-chair), National Farmers Union (co-chair) and The Nature Conservancy — welcomed 14 new groups to the Steering Committee. FACA’s original 40+ recommendations cover six areas of focus: soil health, livestock and dairy, forests and wood products, energy, research, and food loss and waste. They are outlined in a 50-page report [PDF] and summarized in a hand-out [PDF].
UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN NEWS & RESOURCES
- Walia to present Nebraska Lecture on climate change, crop yields
University of Nebraska–Lincoln agronomist Harkamal Walia will present the April 14 virtual Nebraska Lecture, “Changing Climate, Warmer Nights and Crop Yields.” Part of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture Series, the lecture and live Q&A will be broadcast from noon to 1 p.m. here. Viewers may submit questions for Walia to firstname.lastname@example.org before or during the lecture.
- Nebraska Rural Poll Launches Statewide Survey
The Nebraska Rural Poll is an annual survey conducted by the UNL Department of Agricultural Economics in partnership with Rural Prosperity Nebraska and Nebraska Extension.
- Reclaiming Authority over the Land: Creating Space for Economic Growth on the Navajo Nation, April 5, 2020, Rural Law & Policy Virtual Seminar Series
ENVIRONMENTAL ENTREPRENEURS REGENERATIVE AG REPORT
Healthy Soils and the Climate Connection: A Path to Economic Recovery on America’s Farms provides a roadmap for how climate-smart agriculture policies could provide profit boosts for farmers and climate wins for advocates.
Most initiatives to fight climate change today focus on reducing fossil fuel emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and buildings. But to avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must also significantly reduce the atmospheric carbon that has already been emitted. While efforts are underway to develop new and high tech mechanisms to accomplish this, there is an immediately available and economically viable pathway for atmospheric carbon removal—one that provides a compelling new value proposition for farmers to revitalize their soils and get paid for doing it.
E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs) is a national, nonpartisan group of business leaders, investors, and professionals from every sector of the economy who advocate for smart policies that are good for the economy and good for the environment. Our members have founded or funded more than 2,500 companies, created more than 600,000 jobs, and manage more than $100 billion in venture and private equity capital.
Biden to Engage Farmers & Build Climate Resilience, NRDC
What Biden’s Climate Plan Means For Regenerative Ag, Rodale Institute
Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Farming, by Gabe Brown