Robert Bonnie, USDA undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, appeared at last week’s Commodity Classic Thursday. As the Department of Agriculture seeks ways to include agriculture in the climate solution conversation, Bonnie says farmers are already doing a lot.

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“Agriculture has been doing a lot of this activity for a long time, we just haven't called it climate smart. We're interested in creating incentives, working with producers, everything we do is going to be incentive-based, we're going to look for opportunities to have this work. Be producer led, it's going to be voluntary and we're looking at across the entire department. Are there investments we can make in research around productivity and reducing greenhouse gases, or resilience to extreme weather events.”

Bonnie said agriculture is a critical partner for climate.

"One thing that gets lost is that we still have to feed nine, ten billion people in 2050, even as we think about how do we get the U.S. to go net-zero on greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture can be an important part of that, as can forestry, in thinking about how we reduce emissions. The great thing about agriculture is we can go negative, we can store carbon in soils, we can store carbon in grasslands, we can dramatically reduce greenhouse gasses.”

Environmental stewardship, Bonnie stressed cannot reduce production.

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