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March 2022

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Producer-Led Climate Policy That Works For Producers

See You At Commodity Classic!

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The RIPE team is gearing up for the Commodity Classic in New Orleans, March 10-12. Members of our steering committee, FAN, board of directors and staff will be in attendance.

Vice President of Engagement and Government Relations Martin Barbre will give a 5-minute presentation on RIPE during the Mini What’s New Sessions, which are 8:15-9:45 a.m. and repeat 12:45-2:15 p.m. Thursday, March 10. Come hear about our unique bipartisan policy proposal then stop by our booth, #3515, to learn more.

We also invite you to visit us for an in-booth reception 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday. Come enjoy snacks and drinks, and chat with RIPE staff. Learn more about how we’re advancing the policy — and how you can help!

RIPE100 Would Shake Up the Climate Policy Status Quo

The D.C. status quo on climate policy only offers farmers and ranchers a cost-share model. RIPE offers a solution that doesn't require farmers to sacrifice their livelihood. Watch the video to learn more, and please share it within your networks!

RIPE100 Would Shake Up the Climate Policy Status Quo to Benefit Farmers, Ranchers and the Public

Are you interested in learning more about how to help advance this policy? Contact Ag Outreach Director Jamie Powers.

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Farmer Engagement News

Welcome, National Black Growers Council!

We are excited to share that the National Black Growers Council (NBGC) is our newest steering committee member. NBGC is a national coalition of multigenerational producers who advocate for the best interest of Black farmers across the United States and beyond. Its mission is to improve the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of Black row crop farmers.

In sharing the exciting news, RIPE Executive Director Aliza Drewes said, “The council’s mission of advocating for Black farmers with a focus on sustainability aligns with RIPE’s focus of creating a strong climate policy that works for all farmers and ranchers.”

Learn more about NBGC joining RIPE’s mission here.

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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 recent insights we’ve gained.

  • The USDA recently announced $1 billion in funding for pilot projects that invest in climate-smart commodities. RIPE, along with the steering committee organizational members, academics and an exciting list of additional partners, are proposing a pilot project that would pay producers $100 per acre or animal unit to adopt voluntary and practical stewardship practices. Our goal is to develop and test a climate-smart program that ensures farmers and ranchers of all types and sizes can earn a reasonable return for their investment. Additionally, to refine the RIPE100 program design, we plan to launch national and state-level roundtable discussions with a wide set of stakeholders. If your organization is interested in signing a letter of support to let the USDA know you think this approach is worth testing, please contact Jamie Powers at JPowers@RIPEroadmap.org. We’ll be circulating a letter for individuals to sign soon.

  • The USDA announced a new round of $5 per acre insurance premiums for cover crops under this year’s Pandemic Cover Crop Program. With a premium of only $5, most farmers would still incur a net loss of at least $32 per acre. RIPE agrees that farmers should receive financial support for adopting cover crops, but we believe payment rates should surpass implementation costs and ensure farmers receive a reasonable return. The current USDA programs only offer costs-share, and that’s why we need a new type of program like RIPE100 that allows producers to earn a reasonable return on their investments in public benefits.

  • The Build Back Better (BBB) proposal invests billions of dollars in climate-smart agriculture. While the fate of the BBB legislative package is unclear, farmers and ranchers could see more funding opportunities should new climate legislation be considered. At RIPE, we believe these funding opportunities should move beyond existing cost-share models and instead offer a return on investment.

A Closer Look at RIPE’s New Qualifying Practice: Covers on Waste Lagoons

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

This month, we added the use of covers on waste lagoons (NRCS code 367) for swine and dairy animal feeding operations. Lagoon covers can reduce emissions and provide additional environmental benefits valued at over $840 per animal unit per year.

We found that farmers who implement lagoon covers reduce greenhouse gas emissions by around 2.2 metric tons per animal for a public value of $43 per acre. They also provide at least $780 per animal unit in air quality benefits. Review our methodology and sources for this practice here.

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

As we work to build and advance a unique producer-led climate policy that will benefit producers and the public, it is critical that we bring as many voices to table as possible. A key piece of this effort has been to bring commodity groups and ag associations into the conversation to gather wide support.

In this month’s survey, we ask how you might share RIPE within your circles and associations. Thank you for sharing your thoughts to help advance this policy!

Start Survey

You’re Invited!

Our next RIPE webinar happens March 17. Join us to learn more about the policy. Invite others to attend!

Invitation for RIPE100 policy proposal webinar - Feb. 23

In the News

Last month, Pacific Northwest Ag Network shared how RIPE can help producers can take the lead on developing a voluntary climate program that works for producers and the public. Executive Director Aliza Drewes also talked with Public News Service about USDA’s announcement of a $1 billion investment in climate-smart agriculture. RIPE is applying for a grant to launch a RIPE100 policy pilot program.

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