“People worry climate policy will be done [to] them and not [with] them,” remarked Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Bonnie, during the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit held at the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit is sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), along with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI).

During his presentation on “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Grants: Insights into the Benefits the Animal Agriculture Industry Can Realize,” Bonnie noted that “the USDA has a program that will make a big difference in the next decade regarding climate change and the approach USDA is taking, which will be important.” He provided insight into the program, which has $3.1 billion for projects to be developed in the next three to four years. Producers will have their own programs, production and projects, and incentives will be available to the producers, with USDA measuring the benefits. There will also be an opportunity for private sector investment. Bonnie remarked that the projects will help expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and offer direct and meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

As part of his “Protein PACT 2023: Moving from Baselines to Progress” presentation, Eric Mittenthal, chief strategy officer for the NAMI, provided a continuous improvement report for 2022 that included pioneering the first sector-wide dataset and setting transparent goals. He also provided insight into 2023 top priorities. 

Lara Moody, executive director for IFEEDER, discussed navigating sustainability to support the feed industry and its stakeholders. She provided an update on IFEEDER’s road map and toolkit, remarking that the road map project is IFEEDER’s framework for supporting and advancing animal food industry sustainability efforts. She defined success as “the U.S. feed industry delivering world-class sustainability performance throughout its customers’ supply chains,” and she also reviewed the strategic objectives for next steps.

Ryan Bennett, executive director of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs (US-RSPE) and International Poultry Welfare Alliance (IPWA), discussed advancing sustainability and welfare as a supply chain. He provided an update that included progress on the US-RSPE Sustainability Framework as well as IPWA’s key welfare indicators.