On Monday, the USDA announced $1 billion in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits.

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the announcement during a stop at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri, saying, “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.”

Funding will be provided to partners through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives. USDA is accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022. A range of public and private entities may apply, and the primary applicant must be an entity, not an individual.

The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance strongly commended USDA for advancing a voluntary, incentive-based approach to deploy climate-smart practices on working lands through its Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities. Members of the Alliance welcomed USDA’s plan to partner with farmers, ranchers, forest owners and nongovernmental organizations through pilot projects.

The alliance stressed in previous comments submitted to USDA the importance of building flexibility into the initiative to acknowledge that agriculture and forestry look very different in different regions, and USDA’s plan appears to welcome a diversity of practices and approaches.

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