Climate projects approved in Texas, set to receive federal funds

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity.

“There is strong and growing interest in the private sector and among consumers for food that is grown in a climate-friendly way,” US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. “USDA is delivering on our promise to build and expand these market opportunities for American agriculture and be global leaders in climate-smart agricultural production. This effort will increase the competitive advantage of US agriculture both domestically and internationally, build wealth that stays in rural communities and support a diverse range of producers and operation types.”

The federal projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

Project partners will be tasked with providing technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on working lands.

Several projects will be conducted in Texas.

Texas A&M AgriLife Research will lead the Texas Climate-Smart Initiative, which is a five-year multi-commodity project to transition Texas’ agricultural sector to climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices and develop new markets for climate-smart commodities. The commodities included in the $65 million project are citrus, cotton, corn, dairy, forestry, grapes, hemp, olives, pecans, rice, sorghum, vegetables and wheat.

AgriLife also will serve as a major contributor to the following four partnership projects with Texas components.

The US Cotton Trust Protocol will lead the US Climate-Smart Cotton Program. This project, with potential funding up to $90 million, will build markets for climate-smart cotton and aid more than 1,000 cotton farmers, including historically underserved cotton farmers, across the country.

ECOM USA, LLC will lead the Climate-Smart Cotton through a Sustainable & Innovative Supply Chain Approach. This project, with potential funding of $30 million, will strive to implement methods to restore soil and ecosystem health in cotton production through regenerative farming and best practices based on specific regions and needs.

The Climate-Smart Beef and Bison Commodities project will be led by South Dakota State University. This project, with potential funding up to $80 million, will create stronger market opportunities for beef and bison producers, educate producers on practices best suited for their operations and manage large-scale data.

National Sorghum Producers Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Project, led by National Sorghum Producers Association, will receive up to $65 million. The project plans to implement climate-smart production practices across hundreds of thousands of acres of sorghum working lands over a five-year period, with the goal to reduce hundreds of millions of pounds of carbon emissions and develop markets for sorghum as a climate-smart commodity.

Additional projects by other companies and organizations are also set to have a Texas component for alfalfa, soybeans, peanuts and rice.

Project partners will be tasked with providing technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on working lands.

For a comprehensive listing of projects and participating organizations included, visit usda.gov/climate-solutions/climate-smart-commodities/projects.

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