Ag Chief Vilsack: Calling 30-by-30 initiative a land grab is 'ludicrous'


Sara Gentzler, Omaha World-Herald (NE) 

Jul 13, 2021


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack sounded flabbergasted that anyone would frame a federal initiative to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 as a “land grab.”


“It’s beyond me,” the former Democratic Iowa governor said. “It’s surprising, because farm groups have always articulated the need for conservation programs and always articulated the need for additional investment in conservation programs. So, it beats me. Again, if people read the report and understand what currently the practices are they would know: That ‘this is a land grab’ is nonsense.”


Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, though, has repeatedly called it just that. The governor, a Republican, has traveled the state fomenting opposition to the initiative in a series of town halls, suggesting it’s a threat to local landowners, and ordered state agencies to resist it. By the Governor’s Office’s count, 50 Nebraska counties have passed resolutions opposing it.


“It’s unique, it’s unlike anything we’re seeing out of any other state,” said USDA Press Secretary Kate Waters.


The Biden administration set the goal to conserve 30% of the nation’s land and water by 2030 in January as part of an executive order addressing climate issues. That’s a nationwide goal, according to Waters, not 30% of each state.


In May, a federal report offered a starting point with some recommendations for early efforts. Among them:


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