While it was just announced Monday, USDA’s $1 billion “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities” is already generating lots of heat on Capitol Hill. Republican lawmakers told Undersecretary Robert Bonnie this week the USDA may be exceeding its authority in spending $1 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation money for climate-smart pilot projects.

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“The NRCS was the agency issuing the notice of funding availability," said House Ag Ranking Republican Glenn Thompson. "Seems like the department is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole to avail yourselves of the CCC authority and funds. And frankly, to me, this looks like a conservation program, dressed up as a marketing program.”

“And while it does sit in NRCS, we’ll draw on expertise from across the department, the Office of the Chief Economist, FSA and others, as we move forward on this,” noted Undersecretary Robert Bonnie.

Other Ag Republicans questioned how much more farm country could do than it's already being done to lower the planet's temperature. Democrats countered expensive droughts, forest fires and storms all indicate that action must be taken.

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