FOE Statement on USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities Announcement

Friends of the Earth Statement in Response to USDA’s Climate-Smart Commodities Announcement

Washington, D.C. – Today, USDA announced $2.8 billion in funding for 70 projects under the first round of grants for its Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. Funding recipients and partners include a range of corporations, universities, NGOs, trade associations, farms, tribal organizations, and state agencies. USDA is expected to soon make another announcement of $700 million for smaller projects under this initiative.

Jason Davison, Senior Food and Agriculture Campaigner at Friends of the Earth issued the following statement:

The Biden Administration is right to focus on mitigating climate change, and many of the projects announced today seem worthy of support. Unfortunately, several of them will funnel tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to some of the most egregious climate offenders — Big Ag corporations like JBS, Cargill, and ADM.

USDA handing $60 million taxpayer dollars to Tyson Foods to create “climate-smart” beef would be like EPA giving a $60 million grant to Exxon to create “green” gasoline. It’s a massive corporate giveaway, and it’s unacceptable.

These grants fly in the face of President Biden’s executive order calling for USDA to combat consolidation in agriculture. They lay the groundwork for giant agribusinesses to use these projects to greenwash their own emissions and collect tremendous amounts of farm data.

Many of these corporations and trade associations have historically fought climate mitigation measures, refusing to report data on their emissions and other pollution. Going forward, Congress and USDA must ensure transparency and accountability for these projects. Taxpayers deserve to know who benefits from this funding and the outcomes for GHG emissions and other environmental impacts, for consumers, and for impacted rural communities, farmers, and farmworkers.

Communications contact: Haven Bourque, [email protected]

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