USDA invests in climate-smart commodities as exports hit new highs in 2021

USA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing US$1bn in partnerships to support farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners in creation of climate-smart commodities across the United States.  

According to the USDA, a climate-smart commodity is an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching, or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. 

 “America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations,” said US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.  

“Through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA will provide targeted funding to meet national and global demand and expand market opportunities for climate-smart commodities to increase the competitive advantage of American producers.” 

Funding will be provided to partners through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives to producers and landowners to implement climate-smart production practices, activities, and systems on working lands. 

Eligible projects will also be provided be incentivised to measure and verify the carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits associated with those practices, develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.  

NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern supported the announcement and said, “This new initiative will support voluntary, producer-led efforts to increase on-farm adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies and practices.  

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Such efforts are essential to help US dairy farmers fulfill their environmental stewardship goals to become greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050 and improve water quality while optimizing water use.” 

American agricultural exports hit new high 

Meanwhile, the American agricultural industry posted its highest annual export, demonstrating the sector’s resilience amid a pandemic.  

According to data published by the Department of Commerce, U.S. farm and food products exports to the world totaled US$177 billion, topping the 2020 total by 18 percent and eclipsing the previous record, set in 2014, by 14.6 percent. 

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“These record-breaking trade numbers demonstrate that U.S. agriculture is incredibly resilient as it continues to provide high-quality, cost-competitive farm and food products to customers around the globe,” Vilsack said.  

 The United States’ top 10 export markets all saw gains in 2021, with six of the 10 – China, Mexico, Canada, South Korea, the Philippines and Colombia – setting new records. 

 Worldwide exports of many U.S. products, including soybeans, corn, beef, pork, dairy, distillers’ grains and pet food, also reached all-time highs.  

China remained the top export destination, with a record US$33 billion in purchases, up 25 percent from 2020, while Mexico inched ahead of Canada to capture the number two position with a record US$25.5 billion, up 39 percent from last year.  

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