USDA launches new climate corps

The initiative is intended to foster the next generation of conservation and climate leaders through climate-smart agriculture.
EDITED BY LUKE REYNOLDS
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., unveiled the Working Lands Climate Corps, an initiative under President Joe Biden’s American Climate Corps, aimed at fostering the next generation of conservation and climate leaders through climate-smart agriculture.  

The program was announced by Xochitl Torres Small, deputy secretary of agriculture. at the National Association of Conservation Districts annual meeting. It seeks to place at least 100 young individuals in roles across the nation, empowering them with the technical skills and career pathways to contribute to sustainable agricultural practices. 

“As part of President Biden’s historic American Climate Corps initiative, USDA’s new Working Lands Climate Corps will train a new generation of Americans to help tackle climate change in rural communities across the country,” says Torres Small. “This program will provide a pathway to continue to build a workforce of people who understand these programs and their promise to support the delivery of billions of dollars in climate-smart agriculture funding made available through President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, putting them on a pathway into good paying careers at the US Department of Agriculture.” 

The corps, in collaboration with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, AmeriCorps, The Corps Network, and the National Association of Conservation Districts, aims to provide young people with economic opportunities by teaching them how to deliver climate-smart agriculture solutions. 

Michael Smith, CEO of AmeriCorps, drew parallels to the historical Civilian Conservation Corps, emphasizing the program’s focus on equity and its mission to train new workers in climate resilience and clean energy. 

“Born amid the Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps revitalized farmlands across the nation. Today, farmers are a new facing threat — climate change and droughts,” says Smith. “With equity at its core, President Biden’s American Climate Corps is addressing this new crisis by training a new generation for good-paying jobs in climate resilience and clean energy. AmeriCorps is proud to partner with USDA, The Corps Network, and the National Association of Conservation Districts to launch the Working Lands Climate Corps — a new American Climate Corps program — which will mobilize Americans across the country to restore soil health, promote sustainable farming practices, and tackle the disproportionate impacts that climate change has on the farming industry and our food.” 

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