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RIPE100 policy proposal: $100/acre or AU for stewardship, implementation costs after first year

Producer-Leader Spotlight

Sledge Taylor, RIPE FAN member and Mississippi farmer

Sledge Taylor, Owner of Buckeye Farm. Courtesy of USDA’s NRCS of Mississippi

On the farm: Sledge is a fifth-generation farmer and owner of Buckeye Farm in Panola County, Mississippi. He farms a diverse crop rotation of cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and peanuts across 4,500 acres of land, with 1,400 pasture acres and over 250 acres in hay crops. Buckeye Farm has used conservation practices such as no-till and cover crops for decades.

Community involvement: Sledge is involved in several local, state and national organizations. He serves on the Panola County NRCS committee and helped establish the Panola County Land Use Planning Committee.

Why did you decide to participate in the Farmer Advisory Network (FAN) When I became aware of the RIPE program last February, I knew I wanted to be involved because I saw the benefit to farmers and society. Although some of the details of implementing RIPE may take a little time to work out, the premise is simple, and from my almost 50 years of farming, I know it will be very effective.

What impact would the RIPE100 policy have on farmers and ranchers? Although farmers and ranchers may want to implement cover crops, many are financially unable to make the initial investment. Others are unsure of the benefits or are skeptical of trying new methods. From my experience of participating in USDA farm policy, I believe that the RIPE100 program is a brilliant solution to solve a number of problems we face as a society, will incentivize farmers to plant cover crops, and improve the soil.

What's your favorite movie? “The Last of the Mohicans,” followed by “Dr. Strangelove.”

Learn more about the Farmer Advisory Network and its members.

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Sen. Klobuchar Needs to Hear From Producers
RIPE staff recently met with the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to discuss RIPE100. Her staff shared a piece of crucial information: To fully understand the impact of the RIPE100 plan, the senator needs to hear more from producers. If you are interested in advocating for the RIPE program to Sen. Klobuchar, please add your name to this letter asking her to endorse RIPE100. This is a critical moment to let her know how many producers support the plan.

RIPE Staff Meets With More Key Legislators
RIPE also met with Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) and staffers for Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.). The meetings went well, and staff members are interested to explore RIPE100 further.

Some Hill members expressed an interest in adopting RIPE principles such as making it easier to enroll, covering the cost to implement conservation practices, and providing returns on environmental benefits. It was promising feedback for RIPE’s potential!

House Oversight and Gov’t Reform Committee: Regenerative Ag Key to Solving Climate Change
On July 19, the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) held “Regenerative Agriculture: How Farmers and Ranchers are Essential to Solving Climate Change and Increasing Food Production.” During the hearing, witnesses testified that regenerative agriculture and technology are not new concepts and that throughout history, there has always been a push for efficiency and sustainability. Testimony emphasized the need for a voluntary and incentive-based program to get producers to implement more conservation practices. Core RIPE100 policy principles include voluntary participation with reasonable return incentives, rather than cost-share.

We are encouraged by the House and Senate committees’ attention to the importance of regenerative agriculture and its environmental benefits. The RIPE100 proposal promotes widespread adoption of these practices, including cover crops, no-till, crop rotation and rotational grazing, while fully covering producer costs. By year 10 of the RIPE100 plan, we estimate regenerative practices would be adopted on 750 million acres.

Reminder: You Can Help Shape FACA’s Farm Bill Priorities
As a general member of the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), RIPE participates in monthly meetings to develop and promote climate policy priorities across the agriculture, food and forestry value chains.

In June, we submitted a policy recommendation to FACA’s Conservation Farm Bill Working Group for its consideration of a climate-smart conservation program that ensures a reasonable return for stewardship, rather than a cost-share model in its farm bill ask. If you are a member of a FACA organization, urge leaders to adopt our core principles and endorse RIPE. To help us strategize a way to build alliances within FACA, email GetInvolved@RIPEroadmap.org.

We’re Working to Get RIPE100 in the Farm Bill - Will You Help?
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Aug. 9-12, Arkansas: RIPE Southeast & Equity Farm Outreach Coordinator Andre Carter is attending the Arkansas Natural Resources Division and Arkansas Association of Conservation Districts stakeholder meetings in advance of the USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities grants being awarded. Andre will also meet with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture director and the National Black Grower’s Council to discuss and build support for the RIPE100 plan.

Aug. 16-18, North Dakota and South Dakota: RIPE Agricultural Outreach Director Jamie Powers, will join FAN member Mike McDonald and others on the No-Till on the Plains Dakotas Soil Health Bus Tour! The event kicks off in Kansas with over 50 of the nation’s leading producers also heading to events in North and South Dakota. We look forward to spending time with some of the folks that have done so much to advance agricultural stewardship.

Aug. 24, Prairie View, Texas: Andre will visit Prairie View A&M University in Texas to present the RIPE100 plan to more than 100 local producers as part of Prairie View A&M University Cooperative Extension Program of Wharton County’s Agricultural Entrepreneurship Series for producers.

Aug. 30-Sept. 1, Boone, Iowa: Jamie will be joined by RIPE outreach consultant Martin Barbre at the Farm Progress Show. The team will network with local producers and host grower dinners to discuss the RIPE100 plan.

If you’re interested in having a member of the RIPE team speak with your ag organization or offer support at an event, contact Ag Outreach Director Jamie Powers.

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A Closer Look RIPE’s Qualifying Practices: No-Till

We continually work to expand the set of RIPE100 qualifying practices. This month, we are highlighting no-till. The practice reduces greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 0.1 to 0.7 metric tons per acre, but even at the higher end of the climate benefit, it is only worth around $14 per acre. However, the practice also delivers $60 in soil quality benefits, $25 in water quality benefits, and $20 in air quality benefits per acre, reaching a total of $112 per acre. Review our methodology and sources here.

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

Chart showing no-till benefits in addition to carbon value

Our volunteer toolkit will help you share the RIPE100 policy!

Did you know we have materials to help explain the RIPE100 policy to friends, contacts and commodity organizations?

Our volunteer toolkit contains:

  • A brief slide presentation offering a policy overview.

  • Informational hand-outs including instructions on how to register for a free RIPE webinar.

  • Digital newsletters that can be easily forwarded to your contacts.

  • Commodity-specific white papers detailing how the RIPE policy plan would benefit producers.

  • A press release to share with local media outlets.

  • Podcasts and news articles that feature RIPE.

Visit our website to browse all the toolkit contents, or contact our Outreach Team to discuss ways to share RIPE information at GetInvolved@RIPEroadmap.org.

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You’re Invited!

Have you attended one of our monthly webinars about the RIPE100 policy yet? Click below to check out the schedule and sign up. Share the registration with your friends! The next webinar is on Aug. 18.

Invitation for RIPE100 policy proposal webinar - Feb. 23

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