After months of talking about climate-smart agriculture and working with a handful of funding recipients, USDA is now investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 projects under the first Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding pool. The projects, which seek funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million, include everything from flood control to building carbon markets.
After sifting through 450 proposals, USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding recipients include:
Conservation, energy and environmental groups
Trust In Food™, the sustainability division of Farm Journal, is among the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities project recipients for its coalition-driven Connected Ag Project.
THE IMPACT OF USDA CLIMATE FUNDING
According to Tom Vilsack, USDA secretary, these efforts will “increase the competitive advantage of U.S. agriculture both domestically and internationally,” while building wealth in rural America.
“Through today’s announcement of initial selections for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA is delivering on our promise to build and expand these market opportunities for American agriculture and be global leaders in climate-smart agricultural production,” he says.
USDA’s press release says, from the funding, farmers can expect:
1. Technical and financial assistance to implement voluntary climate-smart practices.
2. Methods to quantify, monitor, report and verify greenhouse gas benefits.
3. New markets and promotion in climate-smart commodities.
With this new funding in place, USDA anticipates the projects will:
- Provide hundreds of expanded markets and revenue streams for producers and commodities ranging from traditional corn to specialty crops.
- Reach more than 50,000 farms, encompassing 20 to 25 million acres of working land engaged in climate-smart production practices such as cover crops, no-till and nutrient management.
- Sequester upward of 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent over the lives of the projects. This is equivalent to removing more than 10 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
- Engage more than 50 universities to help advance projects, especially with outreach and monitoring, measurement, reporting and verification.
Proposals for the 70 projects include plans to match 50% of the federal investment with nonfederal funds.