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USDA to invest $1 billion in climate smart commodities

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Today at Lincoln University in Missouri, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will expand markets by investing $1 billion in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. USDA is now accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022.

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a climate-smart commodity is defined as an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations,” said Vilsack. “Through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA will provide targeted funding to meet national and global demand and expand market opportunities for climate-smart commodities to increase the competitive advantage of American producers. We want a broad array of agriculture and forestry to see themselves in this effort, including small and historically underserved producers as well as early adopters.”

Funding will be provided to partners through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives to producers and landowners to:

    • implement climate-smart production practices, activities, and systems on working lands
    • measure/quantify, monitor and verify the carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits associated with those practices
    • develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.

How to Apply

A range of public and private entities may apply, including:

  • County, city or township governments
  • Special district governments
  • State governments
  • Small businesses
  • For profit organizations other than small businesses
  • See the full list here

The primary applicant must be an entity, not an individual. Funding will be provided in two funding pools, and applicants must submit their applications via Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 8, 2022, for the first funding pool (proposals from $5 million to $100 million), and May 27, 2022, for the second funding pool (proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999).

Proposals must provide plans to:

  • Pilot implementation of climate-smart agriculture and/or forestry practices on a large-scale, including meaningful involvement of small and/or historically underserved producers;
  • Quantify, monitor, report and verify climate results; and
  • Develop markets and promote climate-smart commodities generated as a result of project activities

National Milk Producers Federation President and CEO Jim Mulhern said, “We applaud Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and his team at USDA for working to fashion the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative in a way that will provide significant opportunities for U.S. dairy producers of all sizes to build on their proactive sustainability work. This new initiative will support voluntary, producer-led efforts to increase on-farm adoption of climate smart agricultural technologies and practices. Such efforts are essential to help U.S. dairy farmers fulfill their environmental stewardship goals to become greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050 and improve water quality while optimizing water use.”

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