Gerd Altmann | PIXABAY

Sep 19, 2022

Climate-Smart Commodities Receive $2.8B from USDA

70 projects selected for first round of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity

The Biden-Harris Administration through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity, with projects from the second funding pool to be announced later this year.

Ultimately, USDA’s anticipated investment will triple to more than $3 billion in pilots that will create market opportunities for American commodities produced using climate-smart production practices.

First projects selected

These initial projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

Applicants submitted more than 450 project proposals in this first funding pool, and the strength of the projects identified led USDA to increase its investment in this opportunity from the initial $1 billion Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced earlier this year.

“There is strong and growing interest in the private sector and among consumers for food that is grown in a climate-friendly way,” said Vilsack.

“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.

"This effort will increase the competitive advantage of U.S. agriculture both domestically and internationally, build wealth that stays in rural communities and support a diverse range of producers and operation types," he said.

Grain-focused programs

According to the American Soybean Association, projects targeting soybeans will receive a total of up to $905,000,000 through the program and touch all 30 primary soybean-producing states.

Soybean-focused projects include:

  • Farmers for Soil Health
  • Iowa Soybean Association
  • Missouri Soybean Association
  • Renewable Energy Group
  • Field to Market
  • ADM
  • Nutrien
  • Corteva
  • John Deere

Among the projects listed above that are receiving funding is one for Farmers for Soil Health, which received a $95 million grant.

The American Soybean Association wrote a letter in support of this project led by FSH, a collaborative effort of ASA, United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers Association, and National Pork Board.

FSH will use these funds to launch a program to advance the adoption of cover crops and conservation tillage in 20 states that produce over 85% of the nation’s corn and soybeans.

Land O'Lakes Truterra pilot project

The USDA also awarded a $90 million grant to a Truterra pilot project, which aims to achieve GHG emissions reductions of approximately 7.2 million metric tons CO2e over five years, or roughly the equivalent of removing 1.5 million cars from the road for a year.

The Truterra pilot project seeks to engage up to 20,000 farmers and dairy producers over the course of five years, focusing on reaching historically underserved farmers, and will impact more than 7 million acres of land.

“The current market for climate smart commodities has a connection and a scale problem,” said Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford.

“Farmers interested in producing climate smart commodities and companies interested in purchasing them need connection. Very often, both farmers and companies interested in purchasing climate smart commodities lack the necessary infrastructure, tools, and information to build more sustainable links in their supply chain.”

High demand and interest in Climate-Smart program

Earlier this year, Vilsack announced that USDA had allocated $1 billion for the program, divided into two funding pools.

Because of the unprecedented demand and interest in the program, and potential for meaningful opportunities to benefit producers through the proposals, the Biden-Harris administration increased the total funding allocation to more than $3 billion, with projects from the second funding pool to be announced later this year.

Funding for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will be delivered through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. in two pools.

Projects announced are from the first funding pool, which included proposals seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million. USDA received over 450 proposals from more than 350 entities for this funding pool, including nonprofit organizations; for-profits and government entities; farmer cooperatives; conservation, energy and environmental groups; state, tribal and local governments; universities (including minority serving institutions); small businesses; and large corporations.

Applications covered every state in the nation as well as tribal lands, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The tentative selections announced today reflect this broad set of applicants and geographic scope, and the proposals include plans to match on average over 50% of the federal investment with nonfederal funds.

USDA will work with the applicants for the 70 identified projects to finalize the scope and funding levels in the coming months. A complete list of projects identified for this first round of funding is available at usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities.

Partnerships climate smart commodities infographic

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Event

Secretary Vilsack spoke on USDA’s investment in Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities on September 14, 2022.

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