Secretary of the Treasury has served as Secretary for nine years and was elected to two terms. AgricultureTom Vilsack is arguably the American shepherd. FarmersThrough some of the most difficult times since the Dust Bowl.
Globalization, 2008’s recession, and the effects of corporate governance Farming on family-run farms, the crisis of farmers’ suicides, and a pandemic are some of the most prominent issues. Over all, there is the spiraling threat Climate change
Talking with The Independent Friday’s statement from Secretary Vilsack was that American farmers had long ago come to terms about the existential question.
“Years ago when I first started this job, there was a reluctance to acknowledge climate issues,” Secretary Vilsack told The Independent “[Now] I don’t see that reluctance.”
Another pressing crisis – the Russian invasion of Ukraine – would have a “minimal” impact on US agriculture, he said. “My biggest concern is for the Ukrainian people, and the effect it’s going to have on their lives,” he said.
On Monday, a landmark report from the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC() Promised seismic shifts to global agriculture in the next decade.
1.5C global warming above pre-industrial levels will lead to more heat waves and longer warm season. At 2C of global warming, heat extremes in many regions will likely surpass critical levels for agriculture or health.
Even with current temperatures, millions are still facing food and water shortages, especially the most vulnerable.
Extreme events have been linked to climate changes in the United States. A historic and prolonged “megadrought”, and accompanying water restrictions in the US West, have seen Farmers removing almond trees California
In 2020, the Midwest was hit by a derecho, which destroyed $802 million in soybeans, corn, and pastures in Iowa. Farmers take on one-third the losses.
August’s Hurricane Ida caused half-a-billion in damages. Louisiana’s agricultural sector It is mainly used in timber products, but also sugarcane, horticulture, and the destruction of expensive farm equipment.
Sec. Vilsack, a former Iowa governor, served as Secretary of Agriculture from January 2009 until 2017, the longest-serving member of President Barack Obama’s original Cabinet. Under President Joe Biden, he returned to the position last year.
Agriculture accounts for 10 per cent of the US’s total carbon footprint, making pollution cuts in the sector a crucial part of President Biden’s goal to half domestic emissions, below 2005 levels, by the end of the decade.
Sec. Vilsack described agriculture as a “big part of the solution”, pointing to the capacity for soil to sequester carbon, and converting methane produced by livestock into fuel sources.
At the Cop26 climate summit, in Glasgow, the United States and United Arab Emirates launched an initiative, which involved dozens of countries, businesses, and non-government partners, to invest $4bn over five consecutive years to improve agriculture and food system innovation to reduce hunger and climate change.
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) will financially back the acceleration and deployment of innovative technologies which are “key to maintaining productivity in the face of climate change”, Secretary Vilsack said.
“There’s just unlimited opportunities here, to also create more income opportunities for farmers while we’re doing it,” he added.
Ministers from the partner countries met in Dubai last month to set a goal to double investment to $8bn by Cop27, which will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh (Egypt) in November.
Part of the mission are so-called “innovation sprints”. One of the first areas of focus will be helping smallholder farmers in low or middle-income countries. Another will be reducing methane. This powerful GHG traps 30 times as much heat in the short-term and can have rapid benefits for climate change.
AIM involves a broad range of players including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the US Farmers & Ranchers in Action, World Farmers Organisation, Pepsi and McDonald’s.
IBM and the Nature Conservancy of India are collaborating on a project that provides weather forecasting technology to smallholder farmers. Satellite monitoring will be used to determine the amount and quality of biomass in pastoral livestock systems.
It is intended to identify and share innovations from different parts of the globe, and then to help others adopt them. In US farming communities, there is growing enthusiasm towards participating in large-scale pilot projects for so-called “climate-smart” strategies, Sec Vilsack said.
A special IPCC report for 2019The study found that efforts at reducing climate change won’t succeed without significant changes to land use, agriculture, and recommended that meat consumption is reduced. Global livestock accounts for 14.5 percent of all human-caused greenhouse gases. 25% of Earth’s land is used for livestock grazing and 33% of the croplands are used to produce livestock feed.
Secretary Vilsack said that he didn’t believe there needed to be a switch from livestock production over to more plant-based agriculture.
“I don’t think you necessarily have to reduce one aspect of agriculture to be able to encourage another aspect,” he said.
“I think it’s important that we recognize that all methods of production are important, and all technologies, whether it’s plant-based proteins, livestock, vertical farming, indoor farming, hydroponics, aeroponics.
“There’s multiple ways in which we can be more productive, and also more sustainable. The key is to understand that sustainability doesn’t have to be sacrificed for productivity, nor does productivity have to be sacrificed for sustainability.”
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