With the Agriculture Department expected to soon release its strategy for tackling climate change, the top Senate Ag Committee’s top Republican is doubling down on his opposition to a USDA-run carbon bank.
Farm and environmental groups that often disagree on ag policy are urging the Agriculture Department to prioritize climate change in conservation programs and to consider changes to crop insurance that would promote the use of cover crops and other carbon-conserving practices.
The debate over climate policy usually includes some discussion about whether the U.S. crop insurance system should be changed to either incentivize more conservation or better address weather threats. Yet two experts said this public-private partnership is already reflecting changes in climate and new innovations in agriculture, with the potential for more targeted improvements to come.
Farmers are getting new options to cover differences in farming practices and crops, and many growers will be able for the first time this year to buy an endorsement to cover a portion of their deductibles.
The outgoing Trump administration is tapping unspent USDA funding to provide coronavirus relief to contract producers for the first time while providing supplemental payments to hog farms. USDA also is adjusting payments calculations for many producers who have already received Coronavirus Food Assistance Program payments.
Congressional leaders spent Tuesday evening behind closed doors working on a sweeping year-end deal that would include a new coronavirus relief package as well as funding for the federal government for the fiscal 2021.
A first-of-its kind study will pull together massive amounts of USDA farm data to assess the impact of conservation practices, and the department is separately considering a new crop insurance product designed to encourage growers to limit nitrogen usage.