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USDA Earmarks $1 billion for Sustainable Agriculture, Land Management

(Credit: USDA)

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced last Monday that his department will invest $1 billion in partnerships to support America’s sustainable farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

The initiative will provide both financial and technical assistance to pilot projects lasting between one and five years for US agricultural and forestry products that use sustainable practices. Recipients are expected to demonstrate products’ greenhouse gas benefits through “innovative, cost-effective” means of measurement and verification and market the “climate-smart” commodities post-development.

The funding opportunity defines a climate-smart commodity as an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.

Through these investments, which the department is calling Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, USDA aims to incentivize the following three developments among producers and landowners:

  1. Climate-smart production practices, activities, and systems on working lands.
  2. An accounting of the carbon and greenhouse gas  benefits associated with these practices.
  3. Markets and promotion of the resulting climate-smart commodities.

Commenting on the partnership, Vilsack stated:

“America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest owners are leading the way in implementing climate-smart solutions across their operations. 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. The USDA is now accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022. You can find more information about the application process here.

There are many sustainable agriculture efforts currently underway, from vertical farming to regenerative cotton and even lab-grown meat.

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