U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids joined Xochitl Torres Small, U.S. Department of Agriculture under secretary for rural development, to announce USDA has awarded up to $45 million to Dairy Farmers of America.
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Rep. Sharice Davids and Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small received a briefing from Dairy Farmers of America Friday in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo from Rep. Davids’ office)

Headquartered in Kansas City, Kansas, DFA will use this funding to implement a new, climate-smart initiative to help Kansas farmers and consumers reduce emissions and access sustainably produced dairy products.

“Farmers and ranchers are among those most affected by floods, droughts, or heat waves, which have all become more severe due to climate change,” Rep. Davids said Friday at the announcement. “This new funding for Dairy Farmers of America will not only help produce dairy products in a climate-friendly manner, but also open new markets for Kansas producers to ensure we can feed the world for generations to come.”

“Hardworking dairy farmers are vital to our food security and our nation’s security when it comes to tackling climate change,” said USDA Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small. “That’s why President Biden, Vice President Harris and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are investing in projects that will expand markets for climate-smart commodities. USDA is proud to partner with Dairy Farmers of America and Congresswoman Davids to be there for dairy farmers who want to develop and sell low-carbon milk products.”

“Dairy farmers have been working on continuous improvement of the environment long before it became a concern for others. It’s how farmers think, and it is core to who we are,” said Randy Mooney, a dairy farmer and chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “I am proud to be part of a Cooperative that adds value to its member-owners by making the adoption of sustainability practices more accessible, which will ultimately help evolve the development of low-carbon dairy products that consumers are demanding. We look forward to working with USDA, Undersecretary Torres Small and Rep. Davids, the newest member of the House Agriculture Committee, on this and other initiatives that support America’s dairy farmers and the rural communities in which we live and work.”

This new DFA project aims to lower global carbon emissions of the dairy market by decreasing individual, on-farm greenhouse gases. Through collaboration with additional business partners, DFA will work to ensure the financial benefits of climate-smart farming are felt by the local farmers and ranchers, establishing a powerful, self-sustaining, green economy benefiting U.S. agriculture, including underserved producers.

Last week, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects, including DFA’s project announced today, under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity. This effort will expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

Rep. Davids, who was recently named a “Friend of the Farm Bureau,” is the newest member of the House Agricultural Committee which oversees USDA and has jurisdiction over all aspects of agriculture, forestry, nutrition, water conservation, and other agriculture-related fields. Rep. Davids, 3rd District, serves on the committee alongside Rep. Tracey Mann, 1st District, as they prepare to consider the 2023 Farm Bill, a package of legislation passed about every five years that includes several critically important agriculture, conservation, nutrition, and trade programs.

Bega’s Better Farms Program supports eligible dairy farmers’ by offering up to $1.1 million worth of financial grants each year.

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