Home » Agriculture Secretary Visits Illinois, Discusses Sustainable Farming
Economy Featured News United States

Agriculture Secretary Visits Illinois, Discusses Sustainable Farming

The U.S. has lost about 438,000 farms since 1981, according to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Stemming that tide was the main topic of conversation during his visit to a Kankakee County farm Monday.

Vilsack spoke about agriculture’s struggles and what’s being done to make things better.

“The key here is for this farming operation, these farming operations in particular, to have additional revenue streams that come in at the same time they’re selling a crop or selling livestock or getting a government payment,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack said one thing farmers can do is look for green solutions. It’s called climate-smart agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has incentivized the market to buy from farmers using sustainable practices.

“Cover crops and rotational grazing and drip irrigation and a whole series of practices that people know are better for the soil, better for the water, better for the farming operation,” Vilsack said.

He said it can open doors for companies wanting to purchase carbon offsets. It can also open farmers to untapped markets such as using crops to create sustainable jet fuel.

Vilsack said it’s a 36-billion-gallon industry that currently doesn’t exist.

Illinois Department of Agriculture Jerry Costello II said sustainable farming can lead the agriculture industry into the future, allowing families to continue passing on their farms for generations.

“There are no better stewards of the land than farmers because we want to pass it on to the next generation,” Costello said.

Vilsack spoke about several other topics during his Monday visit.

He said one priority is the Farm Bill. Congress has until the end of the year to pass a new one.

Source : WGEM