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WATCH: Agriculture secretary touts climate-friendly farming at Lincoln University

Watch Vilsack's remarks in the player above.


While visiting Lincoln University Monday afternoon, U.S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a new billion-dollar climate partnership with the University.

The United States Department of Agriculture will invest the money into climate-smart commodities and will offer grants for pilot projects.

This comes as Vilsack says farmers and producers are facing challenges when it comes to climate change.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized the need for farmers to engage in climate-friendly practices as a way to increase their income.

"89.6% of American farms today do not generate the majority of income from the farm family that it operates from, that means those farm families have to have off-farm income, maybe one job, two jobs maybe three jobs, to be able to afford to continue to farm," Vilsack said.

The funding for the program comes from the USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation and it will be available for farmers of all sizes and locations including minority farmers.

Vilsack said, "We are hoping a wide range of public and private entities to come together to develop pilot projects that seek to deploy climate-smart practices, across numerous farms, ranches and forested lands and we are looking to cover an inclusive broad set of folks from across agriculture and forestry."

While on campus, Vilsack sat and spoke to graduate students about the program then took a tour of the greenhouse at Dickinson Research Center on the Lincoln campus before speaking to a crowd.

He also was shown scientists' ongoing research of quinoa farming and watershed research being done here in Missouri.

The USDA in a release after Vilsack's speech promoted a $1 billion program to connect producers with markets for climate-friendly agriculture.

Proposals for the pilot project grants for larger projects for five million to 100 million dollars are due April 8th.

A proposal for a small project grant which ranges from $250,000 to $5 million is due May 27th.

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