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USDA invests nearly $3 billion in sustainability projects, including dozens in Minnesota and Wisconsin

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visits River Falls
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visits River Falls 01:04

RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture visited western Wisconsin Thursday.

Tom Vilsack stopped by the Winfield United Innovation Center in River Falls to talk about new investments in sustainability.

More than a dozen projects in Minnesota and Wisconsin are among 70 nationwide, splitting nearly $3 billion in funding.

The farmer cooperative Trutera is one group getting money. It's a sustainability business of Land-O-Lakes and is working to share resources and information to overcome the challenges of climate change.

"In partnership with a number of other organizations they'll be able to educate farmers as to steps that can be taken to improve productivity, improve the quality of products being produced, which in turn allows them to go to their customer and say look at this a climate-smart commodity that you can now sell to your customer knowing that it's beneficial to the climate and not detrimental," Vilsack said.

Vilsack says the funding for these projects was a one-time thing but says they plan to take what works and roll it into the USDA's regular conservation programs.

More than 450 project proposals were submitted by applicants in the first funding pool, causing the USDA to increase its initial $1 billion investment.

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