From Agri-Pulse, May 18, 2022
USDA’s tall task: Picking winners for $1B climate-smart funding pool
RIPE Executive Director Aliza Wasserman-Drewes recently spoke with Agri-Pulse about our proposal to the USDA for a pilot project. An excerpt is below:
USDA has a daunting task as it seeks to pick the winners for one of the biggest ag lotteries ever: the $1 billion Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program, whose first round of funding drew more than 450 proposals seeking $3 billion to $4 billion…
(One) $100 million proposal comes from Rural Investment to Protect Our Environment, or RIPE, a nonprofit whose proposal would pay farmers $100 an acre to implement conservation practices, a figure that dwarfs payments currently being offered by the private sector for carbon sequestration.
“A price floor that is above policy costs and allows for a reasonable return. That’s our motto,” RIPE founder Aliza Wasserman-Drewes says. The proposal covers 394,000 acres of cropland, 153,000 of pastureland and 74,000 animal units in Minnesota, North Dakota, Virginia and Arkansas.
Cover crops, for example, are delivering $100 to $120 per acre in benefits, she says, with water quality improvements making up about half of that.
The model of promoting conservation practices by providing a cost-share payment isn’t working, she says, adding that RIPE is trying to persuade farmers to support its RIPE100 program or something like it in the next farm bill.
Read the full article at Agri-Pulse.com.
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