Buttigieg promises billions to agriculture for climate fight

Source: By Timothy Cama, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is promising billions of dollars in federal funding to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and assist farmers in adapting to climate change impacts.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said he would double the Department of Agriculture’s roughly $2.5 billion annual research and development budget, with a climate focus, including on soil carbon sequestration.

It’s part of a policy platform for rural communities the candidate released today.

Buttigieg would also put $5 billion a year into a “Resilience Hub” grant program to help the private sector and academia assist rural areas in fighting climate change.

“Rural communities — from farmers to farm workers to Native American tribes — are at the frontlines of climate change. Water quality, arable land, weather emergencies, community relocation, livestock, and crop yields are all impacted by climate disruption,” Buttigieg’s campaign wrote in the platform.

“While communities have already begun adapting to the changes, Pete also wants them to become the engines of innovation for addressing climate change and economic growth,” the campaign said.

Much of Buttigieg’s plan mirrors rural and agriculture policy rollouts last week from many of his rivals for the Democratic nomination, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.

Like some of his opponents, Buttigieg wants to expand USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Stewardship Program, which pay for practices like sustainable farming and taking lands out of production. Buttigieg did not specify the scope of those expansions.

The Iowa State Fair was last week, and Buttigieg is doing a two-day Iowa tour this week to promote his plan.