The RIPE100 complies with the U.S.’s WTO commitments of limiting its agricultural support programs that distort the market. The program falls within the “Green Box” acceptable category as an agricultural program that is decoupled from measuring factors of production for the purpose of production efficiency. This would apply to the wide set of practices including: cover crops, manure management, water conservation, crop diversification that does not specify the type of crops, etc.
Practices that have a direct impact on production efficiencies and decisions, such as precision nutrient management and enhanced efficiency fertilizers, would require further legal review for WTO compliance before being added to the RIPE100 program. Those practices could be compensated for their full cost of practice adoption, as per the Annex 2 exemptions for environmental programs, but may not qualify for the reasonable return stewardship incentive that goes beyond cost recovery. The Amber Box category of payments may be considered for those types of practices at a later date if stakeholders chose to expand the program.
For the near-term program design of RIPE100, only payments that clearly qualify for WTO Green Box status are included as qualifying measures, to avoid legal challenges. This position statement has been made with guidance from Dechert LLP’s pro bono legal counsel.