Wednesday, March 10, 2010

USDA Opens Office of Environmental Markets (OEM)

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, right, today announced new details about the functions and objectives of USDA's Office of Environmental Markets (OEM). OEM, now part of USDA's Natural Resources and Environment mission area, will work to carry out USDA's climate and rural revitalization goals by supporting the development of emerging markets for carbon, water quality, wetlands and biodiversity.

Environmental markets leverage private investments that result in cleaner air, improved water quality, restored wetlands, and enhanced wildlife habitat. These markets have the potential to become a new economic driver for rural America, exactly what we need to support a bold, creative future for America's farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

The 2008 Farm Bill's Conservation Title directs the Secretary to facilitate the development of environmental markets and ensure the participation of America's farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. As set forth by Congress in the Farm Bill, OEM will work across government and in consultation with experts and stakeholders to build a market-based system for quantifying, registering, and verifying environmental benefits produced by land management activities.

In addition to OEM, USDA oversees the USDA Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. (USDA)

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