During the lunch break, conference goers had the exciting and unique experience of hearing from the conference key note speaker, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Protection & Conservation, Ms. Gloria Montaño Greene.
As the Farm Protection & Conservation Deputy Undersecretary appointed by President Biden, Ms. Montaño Greene leads agencies that deliver programs and services to farmers, ranchers, and agricultural producers including farm loans, conservation practices, disaster assistance, crop insurance, and price support.
Originally from rural Arizona and a graduate of the University of Arizona, Ms. Montaño Greene is a former State Executive Director for the Farm Service Agency in Arizona from 2014–2017, when she led the implementation of the 2014 Farm Bill programs across the state. In the past, Ms. Montaño Greene also served as Deputy Director for Chispa Arizona, a program of the League of Conservation Voters focused on the empowerment of Latino voices in Arizona on issues including energy, public lands, and democracy access. We were very lucky to have her all the way from Washington D.C. and back in her home state!
The final two sessions of the day focused more on education topics, rather than debate. “Conservation Programs to Help Sustain Agriculture and Conserve Natural Resources” focused on the various programs and projects that can help promote sustainable agriculture while conserving natural resources. The fifth and final session, “Market Diversification and Programs for Agricultural Producers”, discussed the programs available to producers that can diversify their operations. Topics included tax benefit programs for donating food to local food banks/fair market value (subsidized) for selling to food banks; the importance of buying local and the Arizona-grown market.