Vilsack highlights USDA climate initiatives and investments at COP27

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT, November 12, 2022 – At the United Nations Climate Change Conference 2022 (COP27) this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack highlighted the US Department of Agriculture’s initiatives and investments in climate-friendly agriculture and forestry, noting that global food security depends on the skills of farmers and producers worldwide to increase their productivity while strengthening their climate resilience and minimizing their climate impact.

“As we confront the twin crises of climate change and food insecurity, the USDA recognizes that changes to our farming and food systems can only occur at the scale and pace needed when farmers are at the center of our solutions,” said vilsack “Under the Biden-Harris administration, the United States is making unprecedented investments in innovative approaches to climate change adaptation and mitigation. The USDA is proud to play a pivotal role through our new partnerships for climate-friendly commodities, one-time investments through the Inflation Reduction Act, and other initiatives that position American agriculture as a leader in delivering climate solutions through voluntary incentive-based, market-driven and collaborative approaches. It was my honor to highlight the leadership of government and American agriculture in addressing the climate crisis at COP27.”

Partnerships for climate-friendly raw materials

Vilsack used the international platform at COP27 to showcase the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, through which the USDA is investing in new revenue streams for America’s climate-conscious farmers, ranchers and forest owners. These projects will expand markets for climate-smart raw materials that harness greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to agriculture, including small and underserved producers.

At numerous COP27 events, Vilsack highlighted USDA’s initial $2.8 billion investment in 70 pilot projects from the first funding pool that will bring significant benefits to producers and communities across all 50 states. The projects will result in the application of climate-friendly production practices to more than 25 million acres of cultivated land, with expanded market opportunities and revenue streams for producers of all sizes and types. All of these projects require meaningful participation from underserved producers.

Today, Vilsack announced that the USDA will direct an additional $300 million into the second pool of pilot projects by the end of the year, bringing the USDA’s total expected investment to $3.1 billion. More than 65 additional projects focus on registering small and underserved producers, as well as methods to be developed in facilities serving minorities to monitor, report and verify the benefits of climate-friendly agricultural practices.

“Small and underserved producers are on the front lines of the worst impacts of climate change around the world. At the same time, there is enormous and growing market demand for agricultural goods produced in a sustainable and climate-friendly manner. Our goal is to expand markets for climate-friendly raw materials and ensure that small and underserved producers capitalize on these market opportunities,” said Vilsack.

International Climate Center

“As the USDA and our partners invest in new climate-related programs and innovations around the world, we recognize that sharing information – about successes, challenges and approaches – can have broad global benefits. A sustained commitment to learning and action in the international community will be critical to accelerate the uptake of best climate friendly farming and forestry practices,” said Vilsack.

As part of the USDA’s commitment, Vilsack announced that the USDA will establish an International Climate Hub, modeled on USDA’s domestic climate hubs, to serve as a premier model for the development and delivery of science-based, region-specific information and technology to U.S. agriculture managers climate-informed decision-making. The International Climate Hub will provide information and resources tailored to specific regions and needs, including a focus on the countries and producers most vulnerable to the impacts of global climate change. The hub will leverage results and innovations generated through USDA’s national and international programs and initiatives, including the Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities pilots.

Global Fertilizer Challenge

Earlier this year, President Biden invited world leaders to join the United States in the Global Fertilizer Challenge with a goal of raising $100 million in support by COP27. Today, Vilsack, along with the President’s special envoy for climate, John Kerry, announced the US$25 million commitment to the challenge, which includes:

  • $20 million for them Fertilize properly Initiative through which the USDA will work with governments and local organizations worldwide to advance fertilizer efficiency and nutrient management, beginning with Brazil, Colombia, Pakistan and Vietnam.
  • $5 million for the Efficient Fertilizer Consortium, to be established by the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and implemented in partnership with AIM for Climate to advance applied research on efficient fertilizers and practices in collaboration with the private sector.

“Put simply, farmers need nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium to grow crops. But lack of access to fertilizer hampers productivity in many low-income countries, while in most major economies more than 50 percent of fertilizers fail to reach intended crops. Adopting innovative and efficient fertilizer and cultivation practices will ease supply pressures, reduce nitrogen oxide emissions and reduce food insecurity around the world,” said Vilsack.

Agricultural innovation mission for the climate

In a series of events centered on the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate, launched by the United States and the United Arab Emirates at COP26 last year, Vilsack highlighted the initiative’s progress and achievements to date. He also announced that the United States will host the AIM for Climate Summit on May 8-10, 2023 in Washington, DC, bringing together public and private sector partners from around the world to collaborate and share their pioneering work on climate smarts Agriculture to continue to expand innovation in food systems.

Vilsack also announced two new USDA contributions to AIM for Climate:

  • $5 million for the Enteric Fermentation Research and Development Accelerator, an AIM for Climate innovation sprint led by the Global Methane Hub to accelerate cost-effective solutions to reduce enteric methane emissions; and
  • $5 million to the Efficient Fertilizer Consortium as part of US support for the Global Fertilizer Challenge (see above).

Pathways to Dairy Net Zero

Acknowledging the critical role of sustainably managed livestock and dairy systems in combating climate change and ensuring food security, Vilsack highlighted USDA’s national and international efforts to advance climate-friendly dairy production, including:

  • Awarded more than $400 million to nine dairy-focused projects under the first round of Green Commodity Partnerships that will help create additional revenue streams for US dairy producers by developing markets for green dairy and the US dairy sector will be more effective in monitoring, verifying and reporting on greenhouse gas reduction benefits.
  • Working with the Department of State, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the Global Dairy Platform and the International Food Policy Research Institute to help mobilize $1 billion from the Green Climate Fund to be part of a sustainable To accelerate the transformation of the dairy sector in East Africa, Asia and the Americas Pathways to Dairy Net Zero.

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