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The Nature Conservancy Statement on USDA’s Climate-smart Agriculture and Forestry Investment

New federal investments prioritize producers’ role in driving climate solutions

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today the launch of the Climate Smart Partnership Initiative, an effort to test and develop wide-ranging ideas from a variety of groups interested in voluntarily collaborating to improve climate outcomes while benefiting farmers, ranchers and forest owners.

The following is a statement by Kris Johnson, interim director of agriculture for The Nature Conservancy in North America:

“The Nature Conservancy (TNC) welcomes today’s announcement by Secretary Vilsack to launch the Climate Smart Partnership Initiative (CSPI). We look forward to working with USDA and a diverse set of partners on the science, innovation and pilot projects necessary to demonstrate success and contribute to rigorous methodologies and standards. We feel it is necessary to accelerate this work – knowing we will be learning while doing – in partnership with farmers, ranchers and forest owners in a way that will add value to the range of commodities they produce.

As the private and public sectors look to reduce their GHG emissions, there is increasing interest in supporting producers using climate-smart and regenerative practices.

Kris Johnson TNC's Interim Director of Agriculture for North America

“In his remarks today, Secretary Vilsack credited the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, saying the USDA drew heavily from alliance recommendations released in May 2021 when forming the program. This is especially gratifying to hear. TNC is a founding member of the alliance because we are committed to helping farmers, ranchers and foresters – our long-time allies in conservation – have the opportunity to become leaders in the climate solution.

“Our nation’s producers are on the front lines of the climate crisis, enduring extreme weather events such as the recent record-breaking droughts that have impaired row crop production and grazing operations. In today’s announcement, we appreciate the $500 million investment on the urgent drought crisis producers are facing and look forward to working with the USDA to ensure today’s investments build long-term drought resilience for producers and nature.

“We all have a role to play in addressing the climate challenge. As the private and public sectors look to reduce their GHG emissions, there is increasing interest in supporting producers using climate-smart and regenerative practices. TNC is working with communities, governments and the private sector to implement natural climate solutions as part of our global commitment to tackle climate change, and we are striving to advance high-integrity approaches transparently, inclusively, and equitably.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.