Secretary Vilsack, AFBF’s Duvall address Agri-Pulse Summit

The annual Agri-Pulse Food and Ag Summit is underway and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is talking about climate policy.

He says that the USDA is currently reviewing how to use existing conservation programs to incentivize farmers to sequester carbon. That could include adding flexibility to the CRP program or rebates on crop insurance premiums for carbon smart practices.

He is also looking at how to create a carbon credit bank through the CCC: “The charter of the Commodity Credit Corporation speaks specifically to markets-- stabilizing markets and creating markets. So, it’s really designed for this kind of opportunity. I want to assure everyone that is watching this, that we are very conscious of the responsibilities that that Commodity Credit Corporation has as it relates to Farm Bill programs, and making sure that there are adequate resources to make sure that we can pay when we have to, under the Farm Bill programs.”

CCC funding is currently capped at $30 billion dollars. He says that the agency would have to figure out how a market would work before knowing if more funding is needed. Later tonight, Vilsack will travel to Iowa to promote the coronavirus stimulus package.

We also heard from members of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall is one of them.

He called on lawmakers to enact a “do no harm” policy to existing Farm Bill programs.

“If there’s going to be other policies that come forward that farmers have to put on the ground and make work, it’s got to be new money that comes with it. We can’t afford to mess up the Title 1 program and the safety net that we have worked so hard to build and continued to try to improve every four years to make sure that agriculture provides that food security for our country,” Duvall explains.

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance has suggested a potential 10-20 percent increase in funding, to support additional conservation policies.