Biden-Harris Administration Announces Historic Partnership Investments for 70 Climate-Smart Rural Goods and Projects

USDA triples commitment with $ 2.8 billion initial investment, piloting new revenue streams for America’s climate-controlled farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, with more projects on the way

WASHINGTON, September 14, 2022 – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today announced that the Biden-Harris administration through the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing up to $ 2.8 billion in 70 projects selected as part of the first opportunity pool of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding, with projects from the second funding pool to be announced later this year. Ultimately, the USDA’s projected investment will triple to exceed $ 3 billion in pilot projects that will create market opportunities for U.S. commodities produced using climate-smart manufacturing practices. These initial projects will expand climate-smart commodity markets, harness the greenhouse gas benefits of producing climate-smart commodities, and provide direct and significant benefits to production agriculture, even for small and disadvantaged producers. Applicants have submitted more than 450 project proposals in this first funding pool, and the strength of the identified projects has led the USDA to increase its investment in this opportunity from the initial $ 1 billion announced by Vilsack at the beginning of this quest. ‘year.

“There is a strong and growing interest in the private sector and among consumers for food grown in a climate-friendly way,” Vilsack said. “Through today’s announcement of initial selections for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, the USDA delivers on our promise to build and expand these market opportunities for American agriculture and be a global leader in climate-smart agricultural production. This effort will increase the competitive advantage of US agriculture both domestically and internationally, create wealth that remains in rural communities, and support a wide range of producers and types of operations. ”

Earlier this year, Vilsack announced that the USDA had allocated $ 1 billion for the program, split into two funding pools. Due to unprecedented demand and interest in the program and the potential for significant opportunities to benefit manufacturers through the proposals, the Biden-Harris administration has increased the total funding allocation to over $ 3 billion, with projects from the second pool of funding to be announced later this year. Vilsack made the announcement from the Penn State University campus, which is the lead partner in one of the selected pilot projects to implement smart climate practices, quantify and track greenhouse gas benefits, and develop markets for smart climate products. resulting from it.

Financing for the climate smart goods partnerships will be disbursed through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation in two pools. The projects announced today come from the first funding pool, which included funding proposals ranging from $ 5 million to $ 100 million. The USDA has received over 450 proposals from more than 350 entities for this funding pool, including non-profit organizations; for profit and government agencies; farmers’ cooperatives; conservation, energy and environment groups; state, tribal and local governments; universities (including institutions serving minorities); small businesses; and large companies. The questions covered all states in the nation as well as tribal lands, DC and Puerto Rico. The tentative selections announced today reflect this broad pool of candidates and geographic scope, and proposals include plans to match on average more than 50% of federal investment with non-federal funds.

USDA will work with applicants for the 70 identified projects to finalize scope and funding levels over the next few months. A full list of projects identified for this first round of funding is available at usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities. These include:

  • Innovative Finance Initiative for Climate Smart Agriculture: This project, which will cover more than 30 states, will use innovative financial mechanisms to accelerate the adoption of climate-smart practices by farmers, leveraging private sector demand to strengthen climate-smart commodity markets. A wide range of partners will provide additional technical assistance and financial incentives to a wide range of producers across a broad range of commodities, linking climate-smart practices to commodity purchases and creating a scalable model for private sector investment . Lead partner: Field to Market
  • Reductions in methane emissions and carbon sequestration in the soil: Through this project, Climate Smart Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) pilots will directly link on-farm greenhouse gas reductions with the low-carbon dairy market opportunity. DFA will use its cooperative business model to ensure that collective financial benefits are captured on the farm, creating an exciting opportunity to establish a powerful self-sustaining circular economy model for the benefit of US agriculture, including disadvantaged producers. Primary Partner: Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.
  • Soil Inventory Project Partnership for Impact and Demand: This project will create smart climate markets, simplify data collection in the field, and combine sample results with modeling to make impact quantifications locally accurate and specific but also scalable. Targeted farms produce value-added, direct-to-consumer specialty crops, as well as the 19 most common row crops in the United States. Lead partner: The Meridian Institute
  • Grass is greener on the other side: development of climate-friendly beef and bison raw materials: This project will create market opportunities for beef and bison producers who use climate-friendly grazing and land management practices. The project will guide and educate producers on smart climate practices best suited to their operations, manage large-scale climate smart data that will be used by producers to improve decision making, and have a direct impact on market demand for beef. / climate-friendly bison commodity markets. Lead University: South Dakota State University
  • Traceable reforestation for American carbon and timber: This project creates climate-smart markets for timber and forest products and addresses the need to expand and recover the nation’s forest ownership to balance the demand for wood products with the growing need for forests to act as carbon sinks. The project will distribute funding, planning and implementation of reforestation and reforestation activities in wildfire deforested lands in the western United States and degraded agricultural land in the southern United States Each acre planted and the volume of forest products generated will have a climate benefit quantified and verified in tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2And). Lead partner: Oregon Climate Trust

Over the span of five years, these 70 projects:

  • Provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on farmlands;
  • Innovative and economical pilot methods for quantifying, monitoring, reporting and verifying the benefits of greenhouse gases; And
  • Develop markets and promote the smart climate products resulting from them.

The projects announced today will have significant impacts for producers and communities nationwide. USDA expects these projects to result in:

  • Hundreds of extended markets and revenue streams for producers and raw materials throughout agriculture, from traditional corn to special crops.
  • More than 50,000 farms have been reached, comprising more than 20-25 million acres of worked land engaged in climate smart production practices such as cover crops, no-till and nutrient management.
  • More than 50 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent were seized over the life of the projects. This is equivalent to removing more than 10 million gasoline-powered cars from the road for a year.
  • More than 50 universities, including several institutions serving minoritiesengaging and helping to move projects forward, particularly with awareness raising and monitoring, measurement, reporting and verification.
  • Proposals for the 70 selected projects include plans for pay over 50% of the federal investment on average with non-federal funds.

The projects were selected on the basis of a number of criteria, with particular attention to the benefits and equity of greenhouse gases and / or carbon sequestration. The funding opportunity notice included a full set of project proposal requirements and evaluation criteria.

The USDA is currently evaluating project proposals from Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities’ second funding pool, which includes funding applications from $ 250,000 to $ 4,999,999. The projects of this second funding pool will highlight the registration of small and / or subservient producers and / or the monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at the institutions serving minorities. The USDA plans to announce these selections by the end of the fall.

More information

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is part of the USDA’s broader strategy to position agriculture and forestry as a leader in climate change mitigation through voluntary, incentive-based, and market-driven approaches. Visit usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities to learn more about this effort and usda.gov/climate-solutions for climate-related updates, resources, and tools across the department.

Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is engaged in an entire government effort to combat the climate crisis and conserve and protect our nation’s land, biodiversity, and natural resources, including soil, air, and water. Through conservation practices and partnerships, the USDA aims to improve economic growth and create new income streams for private farmers, ranchers, producers and foresters. To successfully address these challenges, the USDA and our agencies will need to pursue a coordinated approach together with USDA stakeholders, including state, local and tribal governments.

The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the American food system by focusing more on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all countries. communities, building new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in rural America, and working for equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a more representative workforce of America. To find out more, visit www.usda.gov.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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