Press "Enter" to skip to content

USDA Invests in Better Measurement of Carbon-Reducing Strategies in Agriculture

I mentioned yesterday that the South Dakota Department of Transportation’s draft Carbon Reduction Strategy is kind of milquetoasty without any commitment to measuring the results of their promised actions.

The Biden Administration suffers no such measurement myopia. The United States Department of Agriculture plans to spend $300 million to measure how well various mitigations reduce carbon emissions in agriculture and forestry:

About 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 came from agriculture, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The department will establish a soil carbon monitoring and research network, create a greenhouse gas research network, expand data management infrastructure and improve models and other tools for measuring greenhouse gas outcomes, according to a USDA statement.

The agriculture sector already collects data and provides estimates on carbon emissions and sequestration, said Bill Hohenstein, the director of the USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy. But existing data collection is done haphazardly, leaving some areas uncovered and others with only out-of-date information, he added.

The national networks will allow for sharing high-quality information, [USDA Secretary Tom] Vilsack said.

“This is going to put a finer point on our ability to collect information and data. It’s going to allow us to better coordinate that information,” Vilsack said. “It’s going to allow us to accumulate more information from a variety of sources, not just what’s happening on the ground.”

More accurate data could also help make a stronger case for continuing to fund agriculture programs dedicated to climate solutions as lawmakers write a new farm bill this year, Vilsack said [Jacob Fischler, “U.S. Department of Agriculture to Spend $300M to Boost Climate Data in Farming, Forestry,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.07.12].

Yeah, those darn Democrats, recognizing that good public policy requires good data….


  1. larry kurtz 2023-07-12 07:44

    Another New Mexican has been confirmed to a high post at USDA.

    Prior to joining USDA, Torres Small was a United States Representative for the fifth largest district in the country. As a Member of Congress, she served as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, the House Armed Services Committee and as chairwoman of the Oversight, Management, and Accountability Subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee. Xochitl was the first woman and first person of color to represent New Mexico’s second congressional district.

  2. larry kurtz 2023-07-12 07:48

    The US Forest Service needs to come out of USDA and go into Interior where it should be merged with the Bureau of Land Management and become the US Forest and Land Management Service.

  3. leslie 2023-07-13 00:00

    yeah… :)

Comments are closed.