WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the US Beet Sugar Association (USBSA) and American Sugarbeet Growers Associations (ASGA) announced a $50M multi-partner Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Pilot Program award from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement climate-smart practices. This project will work to establish dairy and sugar as climate-smart commodities by implementing climate-smart production practices, enhancing business practices, improving business practices for climate-smart commodities, and making use of data and information collected to inform future standards.
“On behalf of the US Beet Sugar Association and its members, I want to thank Secretary Vilsack and Under-Secretary Bonnie for recognizing our efforts towards a climate-smart agricultural future,” said Cassie Bladow, President, US Beet Sugar Association. “Every day, our cooperative-owned members utilize cutting-edge technology to ensure our products are reliable and sustainable. We look forward to expanding these methods with our project partners and the USDA.”
“America’s sugarbeet farmers have been global leaders in sustainable sugar production for decades, using best practices and continuous improvement to provide reliable supplies to consumers,” said Luther Markwart, Executive Vice President, American Sugarbeet Growers Association. “Our family farmers look forward to demonstrating the climate-smart benefits of their crops, along with our project partners. We appreciate this tremendous opportunity from USDA and are proud to work alongside them in this exciting process.”
This specific project, Farmer-led Climate Smart Commodities Initiative: Building Success from the Ground Up, will implement climate-smart production practices for dairy and sugar, further establishing these commodities as climate-smart. The grant was one of the 70 applications announced by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on September 14th for USDA’s new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Pilot Program. The sugarbeet industry will utilize the funds to incentivize grower-led nutrient stewardship projects throughout the sugarbeet growing regions. Farmer-owned cooperatives will provide technical assistance, support, and data collection. The project intends to empower growers to adapt to the evolving marketplace and meet consumer demands for sustainably produced food.
In addition to USBSA and ASGA, other project partners include Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, Farmers for Sustainable Food, The Nature Conservancy, WI Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, Clean Wisconsin, Agropur, Headwaters Agriculture Sustainability Partnership, Center for Farm Financial Management, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, AgCentric – MN Farm Business Management, Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, Houston Engineering, Inc., Farmobile, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension.