By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming
The USDA would double the size of the Conservation Reserve, the government’s largest land-idling program, as part of supporting land stewardship on 100 million acres of farmland under companion bills filed in the House and Senate on Monday. Democrats Sen. Cory Booker and Rep. Abigail Spanberger, the sponsors, compared the legislation to New Deal programs to help farmers and combat soil loss during the Dust Bowl.
“The Climate Stewardship Act is a critical investment to seriously engage farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as part of the solution to climate change,” said Booker, who filed a version of the bill in 2019. Spanberger, who chairs the House Agriculture subcommittee on conservation, said she was “committed to finding new ways to both protect the health of our soil and benefit farmers’ bottom lines.” Continue reading here.
Sec.108 Rural Energy for America Program
- Increases funding from $50M to $3 billion per year to provide grants and loan guarantees for tens of thousands of farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to expand renewable energy production and make energy efficiency improvements.
- Gives funding priority to solar projects that include pollinator habitat.
- Sets aside 5% of the additional funding for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.
- Sets aside 5% of the funding for new and beginning farmers and ranchers.
USDA Agency Launches New Site for Science-Minded Students, USDA News Release
AgLab, a new science-education website operated by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, is now “open for business” to students and educators alike.
Geared toward K-12 students with an interest in food and science, AgLab offers a variety of content to promote a greater understanding of how agricultural research is helping meet the food, fiber, feed and fuel needs of a growing world population while also safeguarding our environment and natural resources.