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Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities

USDA is committed to supporting a diverse set of farmers, ranchers, and forest owners through climate solutions that increase resilience, expand market opportunities, and strengthen rural America. The new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity provides up to $1 billion for pilot projects that create market opportunities for commodities produced using climate-smart practices. USDA is no longer accepting project applications for this funding opportunity.

This funding opportunity is currently closed. Selections for both funding pools are anticipated later this summer.

Access the draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (PEA) (PDF, 2.6 MB) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) (PDF, 298 KB). The Notice for these documents was published in the Federal Register on August 4, 2022.

Any general questions about the funding opportunity should be sent to climate-smart-commodities@usda.gov.

Please review this website for the link to the Notice of Funding Opportunity, updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), webinar recordings, and other additional resources.

USDA announced details of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities opportunity on February 7, 2022. Through this new program, USDA will finance partnerships to support the production and marketing of climate-smart commodities via a set of pilot projects lasting 1 to 5 years. Pilots will provide technical and financial assistance to producers who implement climate-smart practices on a voluntary basis on working lands; pilot innovative and cost-effective methods for quantification, monitoring, reporting, and verification of greenhouse gas benefits; and market the resulting climate-smart commodities.

USDA will be inclusive of a wide cross-section of U.S. agriculture and forestry through this effort, including the meaningful inclusion of small and underserved producers and early adopters.

The design of this opportunity was informed by over 400 comments received in the Request for Information published in September 2021. Project funding for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will be made available through the Commodity Credit Corporation. 

Applicants should refer to the Notice of Funding Opportunity (PDF, 624 KB) for full details on application requirements, including USDA’s intended overarching and market expansion outcomes for this new program, which will help increase the competitive advantage of U.S. farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, including early adopters, both domestically and internationally.

Eligible Entities

A wide range of public and private entities may now apply for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. Eligible entities include:

  • County, city or township governments.
  • Special district governments.
  • State governments.
  • Small businesses.
  • For-profit organizations other than small businesses.
  • Federally recognized Native American Tribal governments.
  • Native American Tribal organizations other than Federally recognized Tribal governments.
  • Nonprofits that have a 501(c)(3).
  • Nonprofits that do not have a 501(c)(3).
  • Private institutions of higher education.
  • Public and State-controlled institutions of higher education.

The primary applicant/recipient must be an entity, not an individual. Please note that agricultural producers and forest landowners will not apply for this program directly but may receive incentives through awarded projects via partner groups.

While grant agreements under this funding opportunity will be made with a single entity, USDA encourages multiple partners to coordinate on project proposals.

In response to questions received from potential applicants, USDA has also provided additional clarity regarding requirements in the funding opportunity, including:

  • The definition of “domestic applicant”;
  • Producers’ eligibility as beneficiaries of the funding; and
  • Quantification requirements.

Frequently asked questions are also available on the website to help answer questions.

Pilot Projects and Climate-Smart Production Practices

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities pilot projects must focus on the on-farm, on-ranch, or forest production of climate-smart commodities and associated reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and/or carbon sequestration.

Highly competitive projects will include agricultural and forestry practices or combinations of practices, and/or practice enhancements that provide GHG benefits and/or carbon sequestration, including but not limited to:

For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a climate-smart commodity is defined as an agricultural commodity that is produced using farming, ranching or forestry practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.
  • Cover crops
  • Low-till or no-till
  • Nutrient management
  • Enhanced efficiency fertilizers
  • Manure management
  • Feed management to reduce enteric emissions
  • Buffers, wetland and grassland management, and tree planting on working lands
  • Agroforestry and afforestation on working lands
  • Afforestation/reforestation and sustainable forest management
  • Planting for high carbon sequestration rate
  • Maintaining and improving forest soil quality
  • Increase on-site carbon storage through forest stand management
  • Alternate wetting and drying on rice fields
  • Climate-smart pasture practices, such as prescribed grazing or legume interseeding
  • Soil amendments, like biochar
Funding Pools and Proposal Deadlines

Funding for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities was provided in two funding pools. On March 11, USDA extended the deadlines to apply after requests from many stakeholders. USDA is committed to equity in program delivery and will ensure that all projects in both funding pools benefit small and/or historically underserved producers. Projects were also encouraged to include early adopters.

  • First Funding Pool – CLOSED May 6, 2022
    Proposals from $5 million to $100 million are in the first funding pool and should include large-scale pilot projects that emphasize the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production and include direct, meaningful benefits to a representative cross-section of production agriculture, including small and/or historically underserved producers.
  • Second Funding Pool – CLOSED June 10, 2022
    Proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999 are in the second funding pool and are limited to particularly innovative pilot projects. These projects should place an emphasis on:
    • Enrollment of small and/or underserved producers, and/or
    • Monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions.
How to Apply and Evaluation Criteria

Applicants must submit project proposals on Grants.gov by the appropriate funding pool deadline. Please note that registering to apply for grants via Grants.gov includes several steps and types of registration, including DUNS, SAM.gov, and Grants.gov accounts. The entire process may take several weeks. Visit the Grants.gov Organization Registration webpage for a complete set of instructions and initial steps.

Project proposals for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program must provide plans to:

  • Pilot implementation of climate-smart agriculture and/or forestry practices on a large-scale, including meaningful involvement of small or historically underserved producers;
  • Quantify, monitor, report, and verify climate results; and
  • Develop markets and promote climate-smart commodities generated as a result of project activities.

Greenhouse gas and/or carbon sequestration benefits and equity are key among project evaluation criteria. Projects must center around benefits to producers and will be evaluated on the meaningful inclusion of small and historically underserved producers. Incentives to encourage producer participation are critical to project success. The Notice of Funding Opportunity includes a complete set of project proposal requirements, evaluation criteria, and submission guidelines.

Project Coordination and Inquiries

Project Coordination

USDA encourages multiple partners to coordinate on project proposals. USDA hosted several “meet and greet” webinars in March and April 2022 to help support and encourage partnerships for proposal development.

Below is the participant registration information for each of those sessions (names and email addresses). USDA does not endorse any particular participant.

Producer Connections including Small/Historically Underserved Producers (PDF, 109 KB) – April 11, 2022
If you have producer connections you want to share, have ideas for engaging small and/or historically underserved producers, or if you are seeking partners with those connections/ideas for your proposal.

Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification and Climate-Smart Commodity Marketing (PDF, 116 KB) – April 11, 2022
If you have expertise in measurement, monitoring, reporting and/or verification, or climate-smart commodity marketing, or you are seeking that expertise for your proposal.

Producer Connections (PDF, 168 KB) – March 29, 2022
If you have producer connections you want to share or are seeking producer connections for your proposal.

Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (PDF, 167 KB) – March 29, 2022
If you have expertise in measurement, monitoring, reporting and/or verification or are seeking that expertise for your proposal.

Climate-Smart Commodity Marketing (PDF, 151 KB) – March 31, 2022
If you have expertise in climate-smart commodity marketing or are seeking that expertise for your proposal.

Engaging Small/Historically Underserved Producers (PDF, 160 KB) – March 31, 2022
If you have ideas for engaging small and/or historically underserved producers in a proposal or are seeking new ideas or partners with expertise in working with small and/or historically underserved producers.

Inquiries

Please contact Climate-Smart-Commodities@usda.gov with any general questions on Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. USDA cannot comment on specific project or applicant eligibility at this stage of the funding opportunity.

Additional Resources