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Our Commitment to Climate Solutions
Climate solutions are a priority for USDA. The Department is developing a comprehensive strategy centered on voluntary incentives, that is inclusive for all agricultural producers, landowners and communities.

 

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Climate Change Affects U.S. Agriculture
and Rural Communities

Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources and rural economies. Producers and land managers across the country are experiencing climate impacts on their operations through shifting weather patterns and increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, drought and wildfire.

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These threats have significant implications not just for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, but also for surrounding communities and all Americans.

The Department is developing a comprehensive strategy centered on voluntary incentives, that is inclusive for all agricultural producers, landowners and communities, and that builds on the 90-Day Progress Report on Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry (PDF, 561 KB).

Additionally, USDA’s Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience outlines action items to address the most significant climate risks to agriculture, forestry and rural communities.

The Fourth National Climate Assessment details how climate change is affecting various land uses in different regions of the United States.

 

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Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities
Funding Opportunity

USDA announced a $1 billion investment in partnerships to support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers and forest landowners.

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On February 7, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is delivering on its promise to expand markets by investing $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. USDA is now accepting project applications for fiscal year 2022.

This funding opportunity defines climate-smart commodities as being produced using agricultural (farming, ranching or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. Funding will be provided to partners through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects to provide incentives to producers and landowners to:

  • implement climate-smart production practices, activities, and systems on working lands
  • measure/quantify, monitor and verify the carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits associated with those practices and
  • develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.

A range of public and private entities may apply. The primary applicant must be an entity, not an individual.

  • Funding will be provided in two funding pools. On March 11, USDA announced it is extending the deadlines to apply after requests from many stakeholders. Applicants must submit their applications via Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on:
  • June 10, 2022 – for the second funding pool (proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999)
  • The deadline for the first funding pool closed on May 6, 2022 (proposals from $5 million to $100 million)

Visit www.usda.gov/climate-solutions/climate-smart-commodities for additional information, including details on Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities and resources to support your application.

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Combatting the Impacts of Climate Change

Since January 2021, USDA has announced a suite of updates to the Department’s programs and services to support farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, partners and rural communities in combatting the impacts of climate change.

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Reports and Strategies

  • A 90-Day Progress Report on a Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Strategy, which provides recommendations and next steps to support the Department in implementing climate solutions in ways that build strong communities, fair markets, and are inclusive of all Tribes and stakeholders.
  • The Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience (PDF, 813 KB) (USDA’s Adaptation Plan) describes how USDA will integrate climate adaptation into its mission, programs, operations and management. The USDA Climate Hubs will continue to play a leading role across USDA to put ‘Adaptation in Action’ by connecting science and practice and through tailored outreach activities.

Conservation and Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

  • Expanded conservation program opportunities to support climate-smart agriculture in 2022, including nationwide availability of the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Incentive Contracts option, a new and streamlined EQIP Cover Crop Initiative, and added flexibilities for producers to easily re-enroll in the Conservation Stewardship Program.
  • $50 million invested in 118 partnerships to expand access to conservation assistance for climate-smart agriculture and forestry. The Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements, administered by NRCS, will fund two-year projects to expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are new to farming, low income, socially disadvantaged or military veterans.
  • $10 million invested in NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program to support climate-smart conservation practices in 10 target states in fiscal year 2021, with lessons learned informing a national rollout planned for fiscal year 2022.
  • A suite of updates to the Farm Service Agency’s Conservation Reserve Program to bolster program effectiveness and target climate impacts. Updates include higher payment rates, new incentives, a more targeted focus on the program’s role in climate change mitigation, and the CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative to quantify the program’s climate benefits.
  • $5 per acre premium support for agricultural producers who insured their spring crop with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year through the Risk Management Agency’s Pandemic Cover Crop Program.
  • $330 million invested in 85 locally driven, public-private partnerships to address climate change, improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) in 2021. Additionally, $75 million invested in RCPP Alternative Funding Arrangements (RCCP AFA) focused on climate-smart agriculture and forestry and other conservation priorities as well as improving access for historically underserved producers.
  • $225 million allocated for RCPP in 2022, with project proposals for RCCP Classic and RCCP AFA accepted through April 13, 2022.
  • $15 million invested to support the development of new tools, approaches, practices and technologies to further natural resource conservation with a focus on climate-smart strategies through the NRCS Conservation Innovation Grants program, and $25 million for On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials. These projects will increase the adoption of new approaches and technologies to help agricultural producers mitigate the effects of climate change, increase the resilience of their operations and boost soil health.
  • Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE), a new crop insurance option announced through USDA’s Risk Management Agency, helps corn farmers in select locations improve conservation efforts while gaining efficiencies and reducing costs by specifically supporting the practice of “split application.”
  • $285 million invested to support the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) in improving national forest and grassland infrastructure through the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund.
  • $218 million invested to fund Great American Outdoors Act projects that conserve critical forest and wetland habitat, support rural economic recovery and increase public access to national forests and grasslands.
  • $15 million invested in USFS grants to develop and expand the use of wood products, strengthen emerging wood energy markets and protect community forests.

Research and Education

  • $10 million invested through the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in a new program area priority called, “Extension, Education, and USDA Climate Hub Partnerships.” Funds support training for the next generation of agriculturalists and foresters to incorporate climate change research into their management practices.

Environmental Justice

  • $50 million invested for Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements that support historically underserved farmers and ranchers in implementation of climate-smart agriculture and forestry conservation practices.

Biofuels and Renewable Energy

 

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USDA Resources and Tools

USDA offers a variety of resources and tools to support farmers, ranchers, forest landowners, partners and rural communities in making informed, science-based decisions to support climate change mitigation and build climate resilience.

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USDA Climate Hubs

USDA’s Climate Hubs deliver science-based, region-specific information and technologies – in partnership with USDA agencies and partners – to enable climate-informed decision making, reduce agricultural risk and build resilience to climate change. Since 2014, the 10 regional Climate Hubs have helped farmers, ranchers, forest and land managers and rural communities plan for and manage weather- and climate- related risks and vulnerabilities. The Climate Hubs translate climate science to action to ensure producers and land managers have useful and actionable information about climate change and its impacts to support adaptation, mitigation and resilience efforts.

The Hubs provide:

  • Tools, technologies, and resources.
  • Regional assessments of risk and vulnerability and user-friendly information and data.
  • Outreach, education, engagement and technical support.Tools, technologies, and resources. Regional assessments of risk and vulnerability and user-friendly information and data.

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COMET Farm

USDA offers a carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system, COMET-Farm, to help producers quantify their operation’s carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reduction potentials based on multiple management scenarios. COMET-Farm estimates the carbon footprint for all or part of an agricultural operation and allows producers to evaluate a diversity of management decisions. No prior training is needed to use this online tool.

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COMET-Planner

USDA offers the COMET-Planner Tool to support carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation evaluations specific to conservation practices implemented through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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Climate Change Resource Center

The U.S. Forest Service’s Climate Change Resource Center provides a suite of tools that are intended to help land managers incorporate climate change and carbon stewardship into their decision-making. Available tools range from specialized calculators to maps or models covering a variety of scales and geographical regions.

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USDA Office of Energy and Environmental Policy

USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy (OEEP) coordinates agricultural, rural and forestry-related climate change program and policy issues across USDA. OEEP houses the Office of Climate Change Program Office (CCPO), which ensures that USDA is a source of objective, analytical assessments of the effects of climate change and proposed response strategies.

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Farmers.gov Resources for Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry

USDA offers voluntary programs and services to help agricultural producers and land managers build soil health, sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance productivity and commodity marketability, and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building resilience to strengthen your operation.

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