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“Resiliency/adaptation is what farmers are leading experts in doing,” Jacquez said. This category includes policies created in response to external activity that affects growers. She said wildfires are a current focus in this subject area. Since 2015, the US has recorded 100 more large fires each year than the year before, which draws climate change into the discussion. “In the last three years there has been a significant policy shift towards wildfire prevention,” she explained. “The recently signed infrastructure bill contains $3.4 billion for prevention.” Long term drought in the West and resulting water shortages were also addressed in the infrastructure bill, including $300 million for incentives to limit water use by farmers and an additional $50 billion for water storage and capture. USDA is funding the development of alternative production practices through research and technical assistance leading to best practices under climate change.
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The last bucket, sustainability policy, requires the reduction of growers’ carbon footprint through incentives to change behavior and through mandates regulating business practices. The federal government is zeroing in on improving harvest techniques, orchard recycling, waste reduction and utilization, genetic development, zero emission agricultural equipment and zero emission farm-to-market transportation. Investments in technology, drip irrigation and greenhouse farming are also in the works, Jacquez said. As the new year approaches, the 2023 Farm Bill will soon be a major topic in Washington and for Blue Diamond and the almond industry, Jaquez noted. Climate change will most certainly be interwoven throughout, and it will be crucial Blue Diamond and the almond industry continues to be engaged and part of the conversation.
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