USDA Invests $1 Billion in Climate Change Grants for Farmers
The USDA just invested $1 billion in climate change grants for farmers, ranchers, and forestry who adopt and execute smart-climate practices. It is certainly no secret that the effects of climate change are a clear and present danger to our wildlife, forestry, and farming industries. Yet its impact is even more pernicious and far-reaching.
Erratic weather events are having a profound impact on global markets.
In the fall of 2020, an unprecedented report authorized by the CFTC (Commodities Futures Trading Commission) sounded the alarm about the effect of climate change on the financial markets. Black swan weather events such as wildfires, storms, droughts, and floods have accelerated in recent years, so their effect on markets is palpable.
Industry leaders from Morgan Stanley, S&P Global, and Cargill, to name a few, plus a host of academic experts and environmental groups added their insights to the report and their voices to a growing choir of diverse professionals unanimously echoing the refrain, “Houston, we have a problem.”
The urgency and scale in how we respond to climate change will determine future outcomes and impact on our global markets.
Well-funded groups like ClimaVision are working on robust, AI-driven weather prediction systems to help growers create nimble, proactive strategies to protect crops and combat output loss. While highly effective, that is just one of the myriad global efforts required to help combat the adverse effects of climate change.
Rewarding Climate-Smart Efforts
The USDA is stepping up its efforts with agricultural grants “to support farmers, ranchers and forest owners with innovative climate solutions that increase resilience, expand market opportunities and strengthen rural America.”
The secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced a $1 billion agricultural climate change grants program to underwrite projects for forestry, farmers, and ranchers that commit to creating or utilizing climate-smart methods and thereby reduce GHG emissions and carbon output.
Historically, agricultural research grants have focused on output, yield, or sustainability variables. Instead, this opportunity focuses directly on producing commodities that reduce carbon output and creating market opportunities around those earth-friendly products.
The Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities has earmarked this billion-dollar fund for projects that bring agricultural products (commodities) to market which have been grown or produced using the climate-smart practice guidelines. Through the CCC, The United States department of agriculture will administer funds for applicants that meet specific criteria.
According to USDA guidelines:
“a climate-smart commodity is an agricultural commodity produced using agricultural (farming, ranching or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.”
Fund Distribution for Approved Partners
The USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will award and distribute funds to approved partners to incentivize growers to:
- Adopt and implement climate-smart practices on farms and fields,
- Measure carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction,
- Develop market opportunities by promoting their climate-smart products.
The CCC has opened these climate change grants for agriculture to a wide range of public and private groups and nonprofit and profit organizations, although applications are limited to entities, not individuals.
- Small businesses
- For-profit organizations other than small businesses
- State, county, city, special district, or township governments
- Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
- Private, Public, and State-controlled institutions of higher education.
- Native American tribal organizations (other than Federally recognized tribal governments)
- Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) (other than institutions of higher education)
- Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3) (other than institutions of higher education)
The next funding pool will collect applications by 11:59 EST on May 27th, 2022, via Grants.gov. According to the USDA website, proposals must include the following benchmarks:
- Partners must implement large-scale agricultural or forestry practices that are climate-smart while including underserved communities.
- Track, monitor, and quantify all GHG and carbon emission metrics
- Create and develop market opportunities for their climate-smart commodities.
This program is a big step forward in helping to create strategic changes and a circular economy in the farming, ranching, and forestry fields. Equity in program participation and delivery is a high priority commitment to the USDA. Therefore, all are encouraged to apply.
Questions about the funding should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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