The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released a report outlining its strategy for climate-smart agriculture. Efforts to include agriculture and forestry in combatting climate change have been a focal point for President Joe Biden. The 90-day progress report provides an overview of how USDA plans to carry out President Biden’s Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. Using a multi-pronged approach, USDA will engage in initiatives to implement a climate-smart agriculture and forestry (CSAF) strategy.
“With the right tools and partnerships, American agriculture and forestry can lead the world in solutions that will increase climate resilience, sequester carbon, enhance agricultural productivity, and maintain critical environmental benefits,” Agriculture Secretary Vilsack said in a press release. “At this pivotal time, President Biden has called upon USDA to develop a strategy for climate-smart agriculture and forestry as part of a whole-of-government effort to addressing the climate crisis. Central to USDA’s approach is the concept that to be effective, whatever we do must work for farmers, ranchers, and landowners.”
The 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry lays out seven elements central to a CSAF strategy. USDA will be quantifying, tracking, and reporting on the benefits of CSAF activities. A CSAF strategy will need to incorporate input from the agricultural community and be workable for farmers and ranchers. Education, training, and technical assistant support for CSAF practices will need to be strengthened. Existing USDA programs will be leveraged to support and enhance CSAF strategies.
Other points of emphasis include improvements to research efforts and the development of a forest and wildfire resilience strategy. The report also highlights the need for supporting new and better markets for ag and forestry products generated through CSAF practices. The climate-smart agriculture report provides an overview of actions needed to achieve climate goals but lacks details on how USDA will specifically implement the plans.