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 first 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 why the groundbreaking RIPE100 policy is so important.
Why should producers support the RIPE100 policy?
Martin: Producers should support RIPE100 because it provides the financial incentive to allow them to use and adopt environmentally positive practices in their operations. Farmers and ranchers are more than willing to incorporate these practices into their operations but quite often the cost of implementation is a huge deterrent. Producers shouldn’t risk their livelihood to incorporate practices that might have a short-term negative financial effect. Today’s cost-share models just don't provide enough financial help to get them “over the hump.” RIPE100 also includes the “early adopters” while most current carbon programs only include new actors.
Brad: Traditional conservation programs provide producers and ranchers with cost-share payments that are almost always below their out-of-pocket costs. This results in low participation. RIPE offers a paradigm shift to encourage universal voluntary participation by paying producers a minimum of $100 per acre or animal unit for voluntary land stewardship that provides a greater benefit to the public through carbon sequestration, improved soil health, cleaner water, water conservation, flood mitigation, pollination, biodiversity, and other environmental services. It’s a win for producers and the environment.
Kevin: RIPE100 is a new way to incentivize and reward producers for using high-impact conservation practices. We can’t let the status quo get in the way of creating and adopting a new vision. I believe RIPE100 can greatly move the conservation needle to the benefit of producers and communities that thrive off the stewardship of our natural resources.
Check back next month to read their responses to a question we often hear from producers: Is this policy realistic?