Biden to divert $30 billion in farm bailouts to experimental carbon capture programs

President Joe Biden’s frenzy to reverse virtually every decision Donald Trump made in office could soon target America’s farmers.

As part of his climate change agenda, Biden is looking at diverting some $30 billion in farm bailouts to invest in experimental carbon capture programs, Politico reported.

Divert farm bailout money

The money comes from an institution called the Commodity Credit Corp, which was established to help farmers weather the Great Depression.

President Trump retooled it to help farmers struggling through his trade war with China. The fund has a $30 billion annual borrowing limit.

Biden’s nominee to lead the Agriculture Department, Tom Vilsack, has made clear that fighting climate change will be a top priority for the USDA, and he plans to conscript farmers in the effort.

In view of that, Biden’s team is looking at using funds from the CCC for a “carbon bank” that would pay farmers to sequester carbon.

“It is a great tool for us to create the kind of structure that will inform future farm bills about what will encourage carbon sequestration, what will encourage precision agriculture, what will encourage soil health and regenerative agricultural practices,” Vilsack said.

Controversial proposal

It remains to be seen whether Vilsack has the authority to go forward — but trading direct farm aid for climate change subsidies with unclear benefits for farmers will likely prove controversial.

Skeptics say that the risks involved work to the advantage of bigger, wealthier farms and that carbon sequestration has not been proven to reduce emissions in any event. A push for a “cap-and-trade” program faltered under President Obama amid skepticism from farmers.

But Vilsack is excited about the program, which he says could establish a blueprint for future farm bills.

“I think agriculture is probably the first and best place to begin getting some wins in this climate area,” Vilsack said. “Farmers are prepared for it. Farmers are anxious to do it. If it’s voluntary, if it’s market-based, if it’s incentive-based, I think you will see farmers, ranchers, and producers cooperate extensively.”

Biden’s climate agenda has also seen the elimination of the Keystone XL pipeline and a pause on oil and gas leases, costing thousands of union jobs.

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