Just a thought from my end of the planet.

The American Climate Corps concepts that the Biden-Harris administration announced in September 2023 might work if it has American men and women with successful first-hand conservation ag experience leading the charge.

Quite a few teachers I’ve known cannot change a spark plug on a lawnmower. The American Climate Corps needs people that can sell sustainability and relate to farmers — the key is to be funny during very serious business. Like when you buy a new house, you need well educated engineers that know calculus and have advanced visionary capabilities to be able to teach others. Climate Corps service members need the experience to back up what they’re teaching.

Farmers need incentives to convert to conservation practices, and the goals must be achievable. With millions of acres across the country that need to be accounted for, the Corps needs a Czar that can say: “I converted 10 million acres to no-till in my career, and they gave me a $500,000 award.”

There are not enough incentives for the effort that is put in by no-tillers.The very young city folks part of the Corps Network could work hard educating people and facilitating field days, and the Climate Corps plan could still fail because there’s not enough of a reward.

No-till is our premier crown jewel after 5 decades of hard work. Do not deface the no-till education process by enlisting service members who have no real world farming experience. CSP and EQUIP have been good enough to get the spirit of change moving ahead.

Let our educators do their jobs and meet their deadlines as with the STEEP program in the PNW, which is effective and educational. To make incentive programs work, each land grant university needs 2 Czars: one for no-till irrigated production and one for dryland production.

The American Climate Corps could probably work if you were JFK sending young folks to foreign countries as advocates for Peace.

But don’t send the city folks to a Dodge City gunfight with a knife.

It would be very poor judgment to send a teaching group without resounding, hands-on experience. This defaces all no-tillers’ resounding hard work.

A fraternal organization of no-till farmers have lived and died by the no-till sword and have seen it all. It’s a biblical process of 40 years wandering across the desert, but that is what it takes. That is who you want for leaders in the Climate Corps.

The Biden-Harris administration should be paying big bucks for top notch promoters and performers with a good incentive program. The program should be people who know how to negotiate a no-till lease, who have run the budget and know what not to do.

You need 100 Czars of no-till: high paid and promotional people saving millions of tons of topsoil, cleaning up water and getting our air back to much lower amounts of CO2, N2O and CH4.

The old saying won’t serve you, “I am from the government, and I am here to help you.”

Frustrated but eager younger people will have a poor start in the Climate Corps, and they might be very disappointed in their adventures across the land because they just have the wrong cards in their hands.

The instigator needs to be a neighbor, a family member or a good friend — someone that has achieved great things.

I would say Dakota Lakes Research Farm funded by local farmers is and was a success story.

What the American Climate Corps is trying to do is reverse a young population migration away from the farm. But remember this is a culture with the word Agri in front. You have got to get the culture and attitude right first before you can add Agri to it. Keep those that are born and bred locally leading the program with a little outside help from the ARS and cooperative Extensions.

Jim Moseley has the best incentive plan: $100 per acre for 5 years in a strict no-till contract and save 80 acres for tillage so that farmers can compare.

Good times are coming, and the adoption period will come fast once the production margin is challenged.

Editor’s note: The American Climate Corps was announced in September 2023 by the Biden-Harris administration.

“The Working Lands Climate Corps, as a division of the American Climate Corps, will provide technical training and career path opportunities for young people, helping them deliver economic benefits through climate-smart agriculture solutions for farmers and ranchers across the country,” according to a USDA press release.

The Corps Network, encompassing several government agencies and in partnership with AmeriCorps and the NRCS, is accepting applications through March 8, 2024 for eligible organizations to sponsor a Corps member for 12 months to assist with outreach and educational activities and provide conservation technical assistance. Organizations will receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of up to $6,895 and a cost reimbursement grant.

To learn more about the American Climate Corps, visit corpsnetwork.org.

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