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May 2022

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RIPE100 policy proposal: $100/acre or animal unit for stewardship

Is RIPE100 Realistic? Former USDA Leaders Say Yes

We recently sat down with three former USDA leaders with a combined 80 years of experience to learn more about why they support the RIPE100 policy.

In the the second part of the two-part series, RIPE Vice President and former Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre, former USDA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs Brad Karmen, and former USDA Associate Chief for Natural Resources Conservation Service Kevin Norton share their thoughts on how sensible it is to to expect federal funding for the groundbreaking RIPE100 policy. Click below to watch the video and see what they had to say.

3 former USDA leaders weigh in on whether the RIPE100 policy proposal is reasonable
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RIPE Welcomes Outreach Coordinator Andre Carter

Andre found a passion for agriculture and farming while working at the Federation of Southern Cooperatives as a cooperative development specialist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and government from Faulkner University and a master’s degree in agricultural and resource economics from Tuskegee University. Andre has been dedicated to service since serving more than four years in the United States Navy. Welcome, Andre!

Learn more about the RIPE team.

RIPE Attends Florida A&M Grower Gathering

RIPE’s new Southeast and Equity Farm Outreach Coordinator Andre Carter is hitting the ground running! On April 26, he supported Dexter Gilbert as Dexter hosted a Florida A&M University grower event at his farm in Malone, Florida. Dexter is a board member of the National Black Growers Council, a RIPE Steering Committee member organization. The event gathered several producers to discuss the RIPE100 policy and build support over dinner. We are grateful to Dexter for his work in helping to spread the word about this unique policy proposal!

Are you interested in having a member of the RIPE team speak with your ag organization or support an event? Contact Ag Outreach Director Jamie Powers.

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RIPE tracks the Congressional policy landscape and is focused on developing key relationships with policymakers to help them create policy that works for farmers. Here are the latest insights.

RIPE to pursue farm bill without competing against existing safety net programs
RIPE’s Steering Committee has advised staff to advance the RIPE100 policy architecture as part of the 2023 Farm Bill authorization. A core goal is to not compete with existing safety net programs. The program would be authorized within the farm bill, and the program’s main funding would come from new money for climate programs. We will engage our Steering Committee, Farmer Advisory Network and USDA consultants to flesh out a plan. Stay tuned for details soon on how you can help this critical campaign!

Leaders in both parties highlight principles key to RIPE100 in House Ag Committee hearing
On March 16, the House Agriculture Committee met to discuss the role of USDA programs in addressing climate change. Leaders of both parties emphasized principles that would be achieved through the unique RIPE100 policy, illustrating the bipartisan and practical potential of RIPE’s approach. Chair Rep. David Scott, D-Ga., emphasized the important role that producers have in addressing climate change, which he said would also improve their profitability. Ranking member Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., stressed that USDA funds used to address climate change should make their way to producers and not middlemen. To watch this hearing, click here.

RIPE advocating for pilot within 2023 budget appropriations
RIPE has submitted a budget appropriations request to several Senate and House offices urging them to fund a pilot in six states, and our staff and Steering Committee members are holding discussions with these offices. Congressional staff have been receptive to the proposal, but we still need to secure a congressional champion. If you are interested in engaging with your member of Congress to discuss the RIPE100 plan, contact RIPE Vice President Martin Barbre or Director of Government Relations Adam Pugh for support.

RIPE partners with 4 states, producer groups, technical experts on USDA pilot proposal
RIPE submitted a proposal to USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities for $100 million to fund a RIPE100 pilot. The proposal would fund $100 per acre or animal unit direct payments to producers growing climate-smart commodities in Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Virginia. It was submitted in partnership with the following organizations:

  • State pilot leads - Arkansas Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Division, Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources, North Dakota Farmers Union, and Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.

  • Producer groups - Agricultural Council of Arkansas, Arkansas Rice Federation, Minnesota Farmers Union, Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association, and the National Black Growers Council.

  • Technical experts and conveners - National Association of Conservation Districts, Supporters of Agricultural Research, Sustainable Food Lab, and the Environmental Initiative.

Thank you to all our partners on the application and to the dozens of producers who signed a letter in support of our pilot proposal! USDA should announce the recipients around July. Stay tuned!

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A Closer Look RIPE’s Qualifying Practices: Conservation Crop Rotation

RIPE’s researchers continually work to expand the set of practices that would qualify for a $100 per unit payment under the proposed RIPE100 program by collecting research that demonstrates the combined environmental value of climate-smart practices.

We recently approved conservation crop rotation (NRCS Code 328). The practice reduces greenhouse gas emissions and provides additional environmental benefits valued at over $240 per acre per year.

Farmers who adopt conservation crop rotation provide over $170 in air quality benefits, nearly $50 in water quality benefits, and $12 in soil quality benefits per acre. They also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 0.2 metric tons per acre, which is about $4 per acre. Review our methodology and sources for this practice here.

See the full list of RIPE’s qualifying practices here.

Chart showing conservation crop rotation benefits

RIPE100 Can Improve Ag’s GHG Benefits by 60% Through Voluntary Practices

Our estimates show that RIPE100 participants would reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by nearly 60% using practical and voluntary measures. This figure assumes gradual ramping up of participants over 10 years and existing realistic measures such as cover crops, conservation tillage and rotational grazing. This amounts to 440 million metric tons of GHG, or 8% of total US emissions in 2035.

These climate benefits are significant, but even at these robust reduction levels, if producers are only rewarded for the GHG level, payments will not surpass policy costs. We believe that producers should be compensated fairly for their environmental and climate contributions.

Chart displaying producer costs for climate versus the private market size

You’re Invited!

Our next monthly RIPE webinar is Thursday, May 19. Join us to learn more about the policy. Invite others to attend!

Invitation for RIPE100 policy proposal webinar - Feb. 23

RIPE in the News

RIPE Vice President Martin Barbre and Board of Directors Vice President Eunie Biel recently joined Linder Farm Network’s “Field Talk Podcast” to discuss the RIPE100 policy proposal. Martin also discussed the RIPE100 proposal on “Working Ranch Radio Show.” Catch both episodes and other podcasts featuring RIPE here.

Stay connected with us on Facebook and Twitter — and be sure to tag us in your posts with #RIPE100 so we can reshare!