AGree Newsfeed

Dems Add $2B in Conservation Technical Assistance to Build Back Better Plan — Agri-Pulse
Source: Agri-Pulse
December 4, 2021
Philip Brasher
“Senate Democrats are dramatically increasing funding for USDA’s conservation technical assistance to farmers as part of the climate-smart agriculture provisions in the Build Back Better spending package. A copy of the new Senate text of the bill’s agriculture provisions obtained by Agri-Pulse would earmark $2.35 billion for technical assistance provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, up from the $200 million set aside for that purpose in the House-passed bill. Advocates of climate-based farming practices say it’s critical to provide farmers with the guidance and advice they need to apply for USDA’s conservation funding. The legislation would authorize $21 billion in increased funding for farm bill conservation programs and create a new $5 billion program to pay farmers for planting cover crops. The legislation also would extend authorization for the conservation programs through 2031. Under the 2018 farm bill, their authorization is due to expire in 2023. The new Senate text also would increase funding for USDA’s climate hubs to $100 million from the $50 million in the House-passed bill. The Senate measure leaves unchanged the $600 million earmarked for USDA to measure the impact of farming practices on greenhouse gas emissions…Senate Democrats also want to modestly increase the bill’s funding for climate-related ag research. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, which leverages private funding for research projects, would get $285 million under the Senate measure, compared to $210 million under the House bill. Funding for grants through USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative would get the same increase, from $210 million to $285 million.” Read More
California Dairy Farmers Struggle to Stay in the ‘Got Milk’ State — The Wall Street Journal
Source: The Wall Street Journal
December 5, 2021
Jesse Newman
(Article Summarized by Meridian Institute) California is the nation’s top milk producer, but dairy farmers in the state, this article says, are struggling with rising costs, increasingly complex environmental regulations, and scarce water resources – all during a time of historic drought. Some California dairy farmers have moved, shut down or turned to growing crops, and now, the article continues, “Recurring droughts are… intensifying their struggles, boosting milk sheds further east and threatening the state’s dairy-capital status, according to farmers, agricultural economists and industry groups.” With another dry winter expected, even more water shortages are on the horizon. Third-generation dairy farmer Mike Monteiro spent the summer waiting for rain, which was virtually non-existent. By summer, he had shut down two of his three dairies. “If we stay dry, these older facilities will have to get shut down in the next three years,” he said. Dairy farms are huge water consumers, so a lack of water has forced farmers to fallow land devoted to feed crops, or to pull back on irrigation. The farmers then turned to purchasing feed from surrounding counties and states, but prices for these crops were sharply higher due to tight supplies. Frank Mendonsa, a second-generation dairy farmer, said, “We’re getting weekly fliers of sellouts. I need the price of feed to turn around or I’ll be another person with his name on a flier.” Mendonsa added, “We’re scared to death we’ll have one more dry year.” Despite the struggles of the state’s dairy producers, the industry in the state remains significant; milk production in California is way ahead of Wisconsin, the next-largest state. “California has led the nation in dairy production for decades, and even as they adapt to climate and other challenges, dairy farmers are well-positioned to maintain their industry leadership,” said a spokesman for California’s department of food and agriculture. Monteiro, like many other California dairy farmers, has, however, begun shifting some of his acreage to almonds and pistachios, which bring more profit per acre than a gallon of milk. Nate Donnay, a dairy economist with StoneX Group Inc., said water in state will increasingly move toward the most profitable agricultural commodities, and that is not likely to be dairy. “We can make milk in a lot of other parts of the country, but we can’t make almonds in Wisconsin,” he said. Read More
Truterra Carbon Program Pays $4 Million to Farmers — Farm Progress
Source: Farm Progress
December 6, 2021
“Truterra’s inaugural carbon program launched in February 2021 made more than $4 million in payments to participating farmers, who sequestered over 200,000 metric tons of carbon. The 2021 Truterra carbon offering delivered an average payment per participating farmer of $20,000. “We have seen strong interest from farmers,” says Jason Weller, President of Truterra. “They see the Truterra carbon program as not only a new revenue stream for their operations, but also an incentive to continue innovating and adopting new practices which help mitigate the damaging and costly impacts of a changing climate on both their operations and our nation’s food supply.” In 2022, Truterra will offer two approaches to encourage climate-smart practices and carbon storage in agricultural soils. The first will reward farmers who recently adopted practices to store more carbon in their soils. The second is designed as an on-ramp for farmers who are just getting started to support them through the process of implementing new practices. Farmers participating in the 2022 carbon program may be eligible for a one-time, upfront payment of $20 per ton of carbon based on recently adopted changes in soil health practices, including reduction in tillage and the addition of cover crops. Truterra is also launching a new carbon market access program for farmers who are implementing climate-smart practices for the first time and are interested in potentially participating in carbon markets in the future. Participating farmers may be eligible to receive one-time payments of up to $2 per acre for enrolling in the carbon market access program.” Read More

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