USDA Undersecretary says Ag Can Be a Hero on Climate Change


America’s farmers have an opportunity to be a hero in addressing climate change through improvements in productivity and climate-smart practices. However, Robert Bonnie, USDA Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation, says a successful climate program “has to work for agriculture.” Bonnie spoke at the International Sweetener Symposium on Monday. Thanks to strong farm policies, America’s sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers invest in new research, technologies, and techniques to boost their efficiency and protect the planet. Sugar farmers produce 16 percent more sugar today on 11 percent less land than 20 years ago. They’ve also increased yields by 30 percent while using fewer inputs. Bonnie says there’s so much diversity in agriculture that the approach to climate change can’t be one that dictates practices for low and high. “It has to be modern, and it has to be producer-led,” Bonnie says. “Farmers and ranchers should be able to choose what works best for them.”