The USDA on May 10 announced it received more than 450 proposals for large-scale projects under its new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. The agency is accepting proposals for smaller-scale projects through June 10.
The USDA first announced plans for the initiative in September 2021. The newly launched program 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.
The agency in February opened a $1 billion funding opportunity for the Climate-Smart Commodities program. Funding for the program is being provided through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corp. to support and provide incentives to pilot project producers and landowners to implement climate-smart production practices, activities and systems on working lands; measure/quantify, monitor and verify the carbon and GHG benefits associated with those practices; and develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.
The funding opportunity is divided into two pools. The first is for larger-scale proposals from $5 million to $100 million, with an initial application deadline set for April 8. The second funding pool is for smaller-scale projects ranging from $250,000 to $4.99 million. The deadline for the second pool was originally set for May 27. The agency extended those deadlines in March. The deadline for the first pool was extended to May 6, while deadline for the second pool is now set for June 10.
The USDA issued a statement on May 10 announcing that more than 450 proposals were submitted by more than 350 groups as part of the first application pool. The agency said it will evaluate those applications over the next few months. Awards for the first round of funding are expected to be awarded later this summer.
The USDA is also encouraging interested parties to submit proposals for smaller-scale projects under the second funding pool. Additional information is available on the USDA website.