USDA to spend $300 million to measure farm emissions

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The Biden Administration announced Wednesday a federal strategy to monitor and measure greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture and forestry.

USDA will use $300 million from the Inflation Reduction Act to expand data collection and build a national research network dedicated to studying soil carbon sequestration.

“This new investment by USDA in improving data and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions – made possible by through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda – is unmatched in its scope and potential to increase accuracy, reduce uncertainty and enhance overall confidence in these estimates,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We’re data driven, and we seek continuous improvement in our climate-smart agriculture and forestry efforts.”

In a call with reporters, Vilsack said, “We’ve got to get the science and innovation right. This is going to allow us to know what works and what doesn’t.”

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, an 80+ member coalition that includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, said it’s encouraged that the plan includes the soil carbon monitoring network. In a news release to RFD-TV, the group stressed the need for a voluntary, science-based approach to climate policies.

Some farm practices can increase the amount of carbon stored in soil and cut down on emissions. According to Reuters, there is debate among researchers as to the exact capacity of soil to store carbon.

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