FOUNTAIN CITY, Wis. (WEAU) – A member of President Biden’s cabinet spent part of Tuesday in Western Wisconsin, promoting climate-conscious efforts in agriculture. Now, a new environmentally friendly product is hitting the market.

“A year ago or so I was here in Wisconsin launching the climate-smart agriculture initiative and now we have the first product of this effort,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said.

Agriculture leaders across the state and country spent time at Great River Organic Milling in Fountain City.

“It’s great to be in Buffalo County, Wisconsin,” Vilsack said. “This is an important area for me and for the USDA.”

Vilsack highlighted sustainable initiatives promoted through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Climate Smart Commodities. The Climate Smart Commodities project provides more than $3 billion to producers, helping them become more climate-conscious.

“We believe sustainability is the future of farming and important to the nutrition of our food supply,” Jeff Van Pevenage, President and CEO of Columbia Grain said. “Reducing the agricultural carbon footprint is critical and we are incorporating new technologies to support producers in the transition towards climate-smart agriculture.”

Now, the first product created through Climate Smart Commodities is ready to hit the market. It’s rice, packaged right here in Western Wisconsin.

“Programs like these shed light on the importance of connecting the dots between federal, state and local leadership,” Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection said.

“Today’s opportunity for this product to go to market represents the first of what I suspect will be hundreds of products that are produced in the country and to respond to consumer demand for sustainably produced food,” Vilsack said.

Secretary Vilsack said the partnerships with Climate Smart Commodities are helping create an image of American Agriculture committed to sustainability. He said there are 27 other potential projects in Wisconsin, looking into industries such as dairy, corn and poultry among others.



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