US 'climate-smart' agriculture funding often misses its target

A new report criticizes more than half of U.S. federal "climate-smart" agriculture funding for not effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Aliya Uteuova reports for The Guardian.


In short:

  • A report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals that $1.9bn of the allocated $3bn for "climate-smart" practices might not combat climate change.
  • The USDA's Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), despite its aims, supports some farming methods with dubious benefits to the climate.
  • Practices such as nutrient management are beneficial, yet a significant portion of EQIP funds are used for questionable methods like animal waste storage facilities construction.

Key quote:

"There’s not a lot outside of these federal programs that are going to help farmers reduce their emissions. So if this money isn’t going to the right practices, then agriculture as a whole in the United States is not going to reduce their emissions."

— Anne Schechinger, author of the EWG report

Why this matters:

Effective use of federal funds for farming practices directly impacts the U.S. agriculture sector's ability to mitigate its role in the climate crisis. This report challenges the current allocation, suggesting a reevaluation to truly benefit the environment and contribute to national efforts against climate change.

Be sure to read Cameron Oglesby’s piece about how climate change is stunting farm production.

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