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Chairman David Scott Opening Statement at Hearing “Soil Health Practices and Programs that Support Regenerative Agriculture

WASHINGTON House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott delivered the following statement at today's hearing “Soil Health Practices and Programs that Support Regenerative Agriculture.”

[As prepared for delivery]

Good morning and welcome to today’s important hearing on soil health and the existing practices and programs that support producers as they protect and improve the health of the soil.    

For decades, USDA programs have provided producers with support to address their resource concerns. As a matter of fact, the Natural Resources Conservation Service began as the Soil Conservation Service, with an original focus primarily on soil health and erosion.

Today, farmers, ranchers, and foresters are able to use USDA’s technical and financial assistance to support a variety of ways to increase soil health. Addressing soil health helps improve their operations and has additional benefits such as increased water retention and carbon sequestration in the soil.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the work of the many advocates and innovators who have driven awareness among producers and the public, alike. For example, the excellent moving documentary Kiss the Ground directed by Mr. Finnian Makepeace who is here with us today that brought attention to soil health. I am thrilled to play a short clip here today created by individuals involved in that documentary that provides agricultural producers’ perspectives on practices and programs that support regenerative agriculture.

I would like to thank our witnesses here today, as well as their supporters. I would also like to thank those who are not able to be here today but have made significant contributions as advocates for innovation in agriculture.

Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not use this opportunity to mention the exciting work being funded by the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program at USDA. Just this morning Secretary Vilsack announced funding of $25 million for the Rodale Institute working with the University of Georgia and Emory University to help producers expand markets for their produce, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, educating consumers, and developing technology that will improve scalability of their model. This is so important and I am so very supportive of what Secretary Vilsack is doing with this program.  This project is just one of 70 receiving funding, but with it being in Georgia, I am sure it will be the most successful.

Now I would like to play a clip from the producers of Kiss the Ground.

Video Can Be Viewed Here

With that, I’d now like to welcome the distinguished Ranking Member, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Thompson, for any opening remarks he would like to give.

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