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A newly released conference report has set the $867 billion Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 up for final votes in Congress as soon as this week. It still includes $25 million in annual funding for the USDA to “develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans” in at least 10 states through 2023. One of the stated goals is to “divert food waste from landfills.”
The USDA will also establish a “food loss and waste reduction liaison” to work on interagency collaboration and existing programs. The agency will conduct a study on food waste that looks at measurement methodologies, contributing factors, financial costs, the effectiveness of current donation liability protections and other relevant areas.
The bill also includes plans to establish an “Interagency Biogas Opportunities Task Force” that will focus on policies, programs and research to accelerate the growth of biogas systems. In addition, $1 million in annual funding is included for a “Carbon Utilization and Biogas Education Program” focused in part on agricultural “opportunities for aggregation of organic waste from multiple sources into a single biogas system.”