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USDA invests in American Coalition for Ethanol climate project

Spanning 10 states, the initiative aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil health, and boost economic returns.

Wisconsin Corn Feild
12019 | Pixabay

The U.S. Department of Agricultureโ€™s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced a $25 million investment in the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE)-led Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). This funding builds upon a successful South Dakota-based project started in 2021, aiming to integrate corn ethanol into clean fuel markets and leverage new tax incentives, such as the 45Z clean fuel production credit, through the adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices.

The RCPP initiative will enable farmers to implement reduced tillage, nutrient management, and cover crops on nearly 100,000 acres across 167 counties in a 10-state region, including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The project partners with 13 ethanol facilities in these states, strategically chosen to provide significant data on the greenhouse gas (GHG) effects of conservation practices in varying soil types and climates.

Brian Jennings, ACE CEO, expressed gratitude for USDA's support and outlined the project's three key objectives: incentivizing farmers in 10 states to adopt conservation practices, monitoring and verifying the reduction in GHG emissions, and ultimately providing tools for ethanol producers and farmers to earn higher tax credits and prices in clean fuel markets.

South Dakota NRCS State Conservationist Tony Sunseri highlighted the project's success in expanding conservation practices, improving soil health, and reducing GHG emissions. The expansion will deepen the scientific understanding of the climate benefits of these practices.

Dr. David Clay from South Dakota State University (SDSU) emphasized the project's dual benefits for farmers and the environment, including higher yields, greater profits, improved soil health, and reduced atmospheric greenhouse gases. SDSU, along with other technical experts and ethanol plants, plays a crucial role in this expansion project.

The project's economic potential is substantial. Through the partner ethanol facilities, over 2.6 million metric tons of CO2 could be removed annually, equating to the impact of taking nearly 600,000 cars off the road. This could translate into an estimated $500 million per year from clean fuel markets, offering significant financial benefits for farmers.

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