Former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson moderated a Sweetener Symposium panel with USDA Undersecretary Robert Bonnie. Much of the conversation centered around climate smart agriculture. “There’s a lot of concern in agriculture about reducing the carbon footprint and having more sustainable practices,” Peterson told RRFN. “Bonnie said something I’ve heard before, the administration’s approach is this will only work coming from the bottom to the top.” Disaster aid implementation, including the Emergency Relief Program, was discussed. “They had simplified the program and Bonnie thought USDA improved it. I’ve heard different takes on that from different parts of the country, but they’ve changed the program so it’s easier for FSA staff to do the applications. Under the old program, it took five hours per application and now they’ve got it down to 40 minutes.”
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