USDA Tom Vilsack today spoke at the key note event in Copenhagen, Denmark, addressing the climate change scientific community. In his address, he shared how the Obama administration is actively partnering with rural communities to "create solutions for curbing greenhouse gases and preventing the worst impacts of climate change."
"Rural economies will benefit from incentives in comprehensive energy legislation that reward production of renewable energy and sequestration of greenhouse gases," said Vilsack.
Vilsack also announced an agreement with U.S. dairy producers to accelerate adoption of "innovative manure to energy projects on American dairy farms. The agreement represents a dynamic public/private partnership and is another demonstration of the Obama Administration's commitment to curb the emissions of greenhouse gases," says USDA in an official release.
"USDA and U.S. dairy producers will work together to reach a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. USDA will do so by undertaking research initiatives, allowing implementation flexibility, and enhancing marketing efforts of anaerobic digesters to dairy producers," states USDA.
With this Memorandum of Understanding, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy -- part of the Dairy Management Inc. -- USDA and U.S. dairy producers will work together to reach a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. USDA will do so by undertaking research initiatives, allowing implementation flexibility, and enhancing marketing efforts of anaerobic digesters to dairy producers. Anaerobic digester technology is a proven method of converting waste products, such as manure, into electricity. The technology utilizes generators that are fueled by methane captured from the animal manure.
Currently, only about 2% of U.S. dairies that are candidates for a profitable digester are utilizing the technology. Dairy operations with anaerobic digesters routinely generate enough electricity to power 200 homes. Through the agreement, USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy will increase the number of anaerobic digesters supported by USDA programs. Beyond promoting the digesters, the agreement will encourage research, and development of new technologies to help dairies reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
On Monday, USDA released a report outlining the impact climate change will have on America's ecosystems. The report is available at this link.
USDA says the report concludes that climate change is already affecting U.S. agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity, and will continue to do so. USDA says the report identifies the effects climate is having and is expected to have on natural resources and ecosystems services in the U.S. over the next several decades.
Here's a link to read Vilsack's full remarks.