USDA announces new greenhouse gas initiative

$300 million allocated to improve air quality monitoring and reporting.

Joshua Baethge, Policy editor

July 13, 2023

2 Min Read
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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA will invest $300 million to improve air quality monitoring, reporting and verification in climate-smart agriculture and forestry. He says it’s another step in the Biden administration’s efforts to make climate-smart agriculture programs as strong and effective as possible. According to him, this requires improving the “scientific backbone” of USDA programs.

“This new investment by USDA in improving data and measurement of greenhouse gas emissions – made possible by through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda – is unmatched in its scope and potential to increase accuracy, reduce uncertainty and enhance overall confidence in these estimates,” Vilsack says. “We’re data driven, and we seek continuous improvement in our climate-smart agriculture and forestry efforts.”

In conjunction with the large investment, USDA has identified seven areas of focus. The agency will establish a soil monitoring and research network with a perennial biomass component and a greenhouse gas research network. It will work to expand its data management, infrastructure and capacity, as well.

USDA is also committing to improving National Resource Conservation Services conservation practice standards and implementation data, improving national conservation activity data and strengthening its greenhouse gas inventory and assessment program.

According to White House senior advisor for clean energy innovation and implementation John Podesta, one of the big remaining technological challenges for tackling the climate crisis is ensuring that natural solutions in agriculture and forestry are working well. He says the $300 million investment to measure and verify emissions from those sectors is a “big step in the right direction.”

The agriculture and forestry investments are part of the Biden Administration’s new strategy to advance greenhouse gas emission measurement and monitoring for the agriculture and forest sectors. Released on July 12, it provides a roadmap for monitoring and reducing air pollution from those industries.

USDA is now asking for feedback on the proposal. It will also host a webinar at 1 p.m. EDT on July 21 for those looking to learn more about these initiatives.

About the Author(s)

Joshua Baethge

Policy editor, Farm Progress

Joshua Baethge covers a wide range of government issues affecting agriculture. Before joining Farm Progress, he spent 10 years as a news and feature reporter in Texas. During that time, he covered multiple state and local government entities, while also writing about real estate, nightlife, culture and whatever else was the news of the day.

Baethge earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. In his free time, he enjoys going to concerts, discovering new restaurants, finding excuses to be outside and traveling as much as possible. He is based in the Dallas area where he lives with his wife and two kids.

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