This week, the USDA wrapped up its first trade mission since 2020 to Dubai. In a conference call with farm broadcasters, Vilsack said he was happy to do this trade mission face to face.

“We had 25 U.S. companies, six cooperator groups, eight state departments of agriculture, two regional trade groups, 41 participants in all focused on supporting and advocating for more trade here in Dubai, in the Middle East, and the Gulf countries as well as in Africa,” said Vilsack. “71 regional buyers attended during the course of the trade mission, over 300 business meetings took place, so obviously, people left here, I think, satisfied that they had a good trade mission.”

A hot topic in agriculture and a big topic of the mission was climate-smart agriculture.

“The AIM for Climate Initiative, this was an initiative that the United States and the UAE launched at COP 26. When we launched it, there were roughly 80 partners who were interested. We have eight Sprint initiatives. These are research initiatives looking at ways in which technologies and advancements in climate-smart agriculture can be instituted into the market quickly. We now have another 55 partners for a total of 140 partners,” said Vilsack.

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When in meetings about climate-smart agriculture, the U.S. and partners focused on four areas of improvement for 2022.

“Assisting smallholder farmers in middle-income and low-income countries, looking at methane reduction strategies, the embracing of emerging technologies like nanotechnology, biotechnology, robotics, and AI, as well as advancing Ecological Research, which is research in the area of regenerative agriculture, soil health, areas that were pretty significant in terms of our ability to embrace climate-smart agriculture and to reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of agriculture globally,” said Vilsack.

The USDA offers programs and services that help towards the goal of climate-smart agriculture by building soil health, sequestering carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing productivity and commodity marketability, and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

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