USDA Invests Additional $325M to Promote ‘Climate-Smart Commodities’
TUSKEGEE, Ala. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investing $325 million in 71 projects being undertaken under its Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative.
With this latest funding, announced Monday, the department has invested a total $3.1 billion in 141 tentatively selected projects.
The goal of the initiative is to expand markets for American producers who produce climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production and provide meaningful benefits to producers, including small and underserved producers.
“Expanding opportunities for small and underserved producers is a key goal of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack during an appearance at Tuskegee University, the historically Black college and university in Alabama that is the lead partner on two Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodity projects.
“Small and underserved producers are facing the impacts of climate change head on, with limited resources, and have the most to gain from leveraging the growing market demand for agricultural goods produced in a sustainable, climate-smart way,” Vilsack said. “Our goal is to expand markets for climate-smart commodities and ensure that small and underserved producers reap the benefits of these market opportunities.”
According to the department, the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity had high demand from across agriculture and forestry.
Between two funding pools, the USDA received over 1,000 proposals requesting more than $20 billion in funds from more than 700 entities, including nonprofit organizations; for-profits and government entities; farmer cooperatives; conservation, energy and environmental groups; state, tribal and local governments; universities; small businesses; and large corporations.
Applications were received from all 50 states, tribal lands, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, ag officials said.
All of the projects funded through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities require meaningful involvement of small and underserved producers.
The second funding pool was particularly focused on innovative projects that emphasize enrolling small and underserved producers and investing in measuring, monitoring, reporting and verifying the benefits of climate-smart practices at minority-serving institutions.
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects benefit from a diverse range of project partners, including more than 30 minority-serving institutions, more than 20 tribal partners and many groups focused on working with small and underserved producers.
Projects include support for activities that will expand and increase producer access to markets for climate-smart commodities, provide financial and technical assistance to support climate-smart production practice implementation, include investments in quantifying and monitoring the greenhouse gas benefits of those practices, and bringing the resulting commodities to new markets.
The USDA is currently in negotiations regarding the first 70 projects and will work with the applicants for all 141 identified projects to finalize the scope and funding levels in the coming months. Funding will be provided by the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.