Okay, the long anticipated new climate change Senate bill authored by Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) was finally unveiled. The American Power Act at first glance does appear to be an improvement over the House bill (Waxman-Markey) in that there appears to be added certainty on offsets. Kerry and Lieberman tout the bill as a jobs bill and a step toward achieve energy security, while reducing carbon pollution by 17 percent in 2020 and by over 80 percent in 2050. Unlike W-M, the Kerry-Lieberman bill enumerates a specific and lengthy list of eligible offset categories. K-L also addresses offset regulation in a way that weaves together both EPA regulatory and USDA oversight responsibilities, ultimately, in a step likely to annoy both the agriculture and environment community, requiring consultations between the two in most cases for offset designation and removal. As expected, and basically mandated by farming groups and their congressional champions, the USDA is given the primary role over agricultural and forest offset approval, while the EPA has a similar role over other offsets. Time will tell whether this complicated approach in which USDA may be required to take on the unsavory role of a regulatory agency is workable. My guess is that it will not work as proposed. On the bright side is the provision making environmental consideration of offsets is still in place for sequestration projects, especially to protect habitat and native species. In general environmental considerations may even be stronger then W-M.
AgriTechNews Money Saving Rice Crops to a New Innovative Fertiliser Approach
Another week, another agri-tech development taking progress to the next level. From rice crops that can save farmers money and cut pollution to an innovative approach to a new fertiliser, here’s four articles that caught our eye. It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s a USDA Aerial Cover Crop Seeding Helicopter “For a few years now, the USDA has been administering an aerial program that’s a little unusual. Helicopters are, surprisingly enough, not that uncommon in the agriculture...
NCC: Cost Share Program Provides Much-Needed Assistance
The National Cotton Council expressed sincere gratitude to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for providing a one-time $300 million program that offsets a portion of a cotton producer’s 2015 crop season ginning costs. The Cotton Ginning Cost-Share (CGCS) program, announced today by USDA, resulted from the agency utilizing its administrative authority under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act to help facilitate the marketing of commodities. “The U.S. cotton industry commends Secretary...
USDA announces availability of BCAP funding for farmers, foresters and ranchers
On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced that the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) had resumed incentives for farmers and foresters producing biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. BCAP has $3 million in available funding for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The program was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, and supports growers who produce energy biomass crops, or deliver forest and agriculture residues to a USDA-approved bioenergy or bioproducts...
USDA Unveils New Improvement to Streamline Crop Reporting
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that farmers and ranchers filing crop acreage reports with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and participating insurance providers approved by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) now can provide the common information from their acreage reports at one office and the information will be electronically shared with the other location. This new process is part of the USDA Acreage Crop Reporting Streamlining Initiative (ACRSI). This interagency collaboration also...
USDA Convenes Public Meeting Of The Advisory Committee On Biotechnology And 21st Century Agriculture
On May 9, 2016, USDA announced a public meeting of the Advisory Committee on Biotechnology and 21st Century Agriculture (AC21). AC21 was created to provide the USDA Secretary with information on agriculture biotechnology issues, including the long-term impacts of biotechnology on the U.S. food and agriculture system, and to provide guidance on immediate issues. The AC21 meeting will consider the analysis of the new AC21 charge created by the three ad hoc subgroups; discuss a draft outline for the next committee...