USDA announces $1B for climate-smart practices, market expansion


USDA announces $1B for climate-smart practices, market expansion

The USDA is investing $1 billion in climate smart practices and expanding ag markets. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program will provide grants for pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. ag and forestry products.

“USDA will provide grants, now these are not loans, these are grants, to partners through a competitive process to implement these pilot projects. The projects have to incentivize producers to adopt production and marketing practices that will ensure that the agricultural commodity has climate smart properties.”

He said applicants must be able to measure the carbon benefits of the pilot programs. Funding opportunities will be broken into two sections, grants from $5 million to $100 million and from $250,000 to under $5M which Vilsack said will provide stability to climate-smart practices.

“As groups of farmers and ranchers and producers and foresters voluntarily come together, we can provide the resources to support the investments, reduce the cost for those choosing to embrace these climate smart practices – in other, eliminate the financial risk or barrier that may exist today.”

Vilsack tells Brownfield the program will work alongside the Farm Bill with funding from the Commodity Credit Corporation.

“This is one strategy, that we’re announcing today, that compliments the other strategies that we have as part of our overall framework.”

Applications for funding above $5 million are due by April 8, and applications for funding below $5 million are due May 27.

Brownfield interviewed Vilsack after he announced the new USDA program at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri Monday.