"Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today he’ll use billions of dollars from a Depression-era agency to pay for a carbon-saving program for farms, and to help farmers prepare for drought and adverse weather associated with climate change.
In a speech at Colorado State University, Vilsack said he would transfer money from the Commodity Credit Corp. for a variety of efforts, including a proposed pilot program to test conservation practices’ carbon benefits and to more closely monitor for diseases such as African swine fever, which has appeared as close by as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
Drought in the Southwest has been “unyielding, unprecedented and unforgiving,” and farmers in the South and Northeast have been swamped by heavy rain and wind, Vilsack said in announcing the first of two infusion of funds – $3 billion now for the assistance, and more in fiscal 2022 for the carbon pilot program, details of which are to be determined. “All of these folks need help,” he said.
Vilsack’s move is certain to recharge a debate over the most appropriate uses of the Commodity Credit Corp., created decades ago to support U.S. agriculture and uphold prices through the purchase of farm goods, for instance. Congressional Republicans have said they worry that the Biden administration will use the CCC to support a carbon bank or carbon markets, taking funding away from its traditional uses — a charge Vilsack addressed directly today."