In a bid to strengthen local and regional food systems and help small and midsized farms and food businesses reach new markets and resources, the USDA is creating a dozen new regional food centers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday. (No paywall)
Republican lawmakers, who have chafed and balked at President Biden's climate initiatives for months, would use their expanded strength from the midterm elections to hobble the administration's climate agenda for agriculture. Two members of the House Appropriations subcommittee on agriculture already have hinted at a crackdown on USDA's spending powers. (No paywall)
Drought cost California’s agricultural sector $1.2 billion and 8,750 full- and part-time jobs last year, according to a new report prepared for the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. It is the latest evidence that climate change is upending the country’s most productive agricultural region.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which starts Oct. 31 in Glasgow, has been billed as a “turning point” for humanity and the “last, best chance” of averting climate disaster. And given the growing awareness of the central role that food and agricultural systems play in climate change—both as a cause and as part of a potential solution—many activists say that the sector is not as big a piece of the COP26 agenda as it should be. (No paywall)
The urgent need for systemic change in order to avoid biodiversity collapse and further climate catastrophe echoed across the opening weekend of the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille, France. In a speech to kick off the congress on Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron stressed the importance of addressing both biodiversity and climate change in an integrated way, saying, “There is no vaccine for a sick planet.”(No paywall)
Farmers expect to be paid for climate mitigation, and not at the expense of the traditional farm subsidies, said the president of the largest U.S. farm group during a discussion of President Biden's goal of an agriculture sector that achieves net-zero emission of greenhouse gases by 2050. Other ag leaders on the panel organized by USDA agreed there must be a financial payoff for the voluntary, incentive-based practices espoused by the administration to succeed.
Farmers will get cash payments of up to $250,000 apiece — possibly more, depending on the rules — to survive an estimated 20-percent drop in farm income this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump announced $16 billion in direct agricultural aid and said additional money might be be spent this summer to bolster the sector.(No paywall)
Administration officials will hold their first White House meeting in a month on the Renewable Fuel Standard, as ethanol makers and corn growers fear an attack on the ethanol mandate. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said if the White House weakens the RFS, it "will be viewed as nothing less than a declaration of war on rural America and a complete abdication of [President Trump's] repeated promises to protect the RFS."
During brief exchanges with reporters, President Trump said he would announce "very soon" whether he would withdraw the United States from the Paris climate treaty, adding, "I’m hearing from a lot of people, both ways." There were widespread reports that the White House has decided on withdrawal.