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AGRIBUSINESS: USDA To Reduce Carbon Emissions

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U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said Wednesday that USDA will aggressively proceed to reduce carbon emissions by using the authorities it already has. His comments came one day after President Barack Obama’s speech on climate change.

Vilsack noted last year’s drought resulted in $17 billion in crop insurance payments to farmers. He added that USDA spent $2 billion fighting forest fires last year. If climate change isn’t addressed - Vilsack said American’s won’t be able to grow and raise the products we currently do because conditions won’t allow it.

According to Vilsack - USDA will focus on conservation of farmland and restoration of forests. He also noted USDA’s Rural Utilities Service is working with rural electric cooperatives to help rural utility customers get more electricity from renewable sources and that the dairy industry has committed itself to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.