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Claim your share of carbon grant funding

How you can participate in carbon smart grant programs.

Tom J. Bechman, Midwest Crops Editor

June 6, 2024

3 Min Read
Injecting nitrogen into soil.
Photo Tom J. Bechman Groups receiving Climate Smart Commodity grants now seek to incentivize growers like this one to lower their carbon footprint through cover crops and no-till.

Dave Fischer saw an opportunity to get funding to expand his family meat business and raise awareness of livestock-related carbon-smart practices at the same time. He won a $15 million grant after his proposal in the Commodity Smart Agriculture grant program offered through USDA was approved. Fischer is utilizing grant funds to produce beef in a carbon negative system and expanding his business by encouraging neighbors to participate with him. 

Carbon-8613_fischer_meats.jpg

USDA’s grant program is closed now, but that doesn’t mean you missed your chance. “USDA has obligated all the funds, but now the majority of companies and organizations which received funding are looking for people to participate,” explains Hans Schmitz, soil health and climate smart coordinator for Purdue University and the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, better known as CCSI. “These programs need producers to be successful.” 

Money came from the Inflation Reduction Act which Congress passed two years ago. Here are the numbers USDA touts on its dashboard-style internet site dubbed Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Projects: Expanding Climate-Smart Commodities Projects. It claims that $3.03 billion is committed to 135 active projects in 55 U.S. states and territories. There are 202 potential practices for cost-sharing relating to 102 ag commodities. Find the website here.  

Related:Information Library

The dashboard lets you determine how many projects are active in each state. Many overlap state boundaries.  

Say you want to participate and share in funding offered by these projects. Schmitz explains you can use the dashboard to find a description of practices supported by each individual company or organization project. Then, most company pages provide a portal where you can learn more, sign up or place your name on a waiting list.  

Here is a look at a few offerings.  

Archer-Daniels-Midland. This is a $90 million project, available to producers across the Midwest and Southeast in 22 states. It seeks thousands of producers, and offers incentive payments for practices including cover crops, reduced tillage and nutrient management. The goal includes developing markets for climate-smart products produced with lower-carbon footprints. These products could sell at a premium, and participants could also benefit from a cost-sharing approach to reap benefits from the lower-carbon product market. 

This project utilizes a whole array of high-tech practices. Sign up on a waiting list for various practices by using the portal on the project page

Iowa Soybean Association. Don’t let the name stop you! The Iowa Soybean Association was lead partner, but other partners include corporate players like Target, Coca-Cola, Cargill and Pepsi-Co. First offered in the Midwest, enrollment in 2024 expanded into the Northeast and Southeast. The average per acre payment in 2023 was $33 per acre, with no limit on acres, one-year contracts and 50% payment before verification. Learn more here.  

Truterra, Inc. Again, there are dozens of partners supporting this project. It’s also a $90 million project. Truterra is the sustainability business of Land O’ Lakes. With goals of involving 20,000 farmers and 7 million acres, there should be room for everyone.  

End-goals include incentivizing practices that lower the carbon footprint to produce commodities. Organizers believe this can lead to a self-funding effort through sale of climate-smart commodities and ecosystem credits to downstream buyers.  

You can see a summary of the projects here.  

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About the Author(s)

Tom J. Bechman

Midwest Crops Editor, Farm Progress

Tom J. Bechman became the Midwest Crops editor at Farm Progress in 2024 after serving as editor of Indiana Prairie Farmer for 23 years. He joined Farm Progress in 1981 as a field editor, first writing stories to help farmers adjust to a difficult harvest after a tough weather year. His goal today is the same — writing stories that help farmers adjust to a changing environment in a profitable manner.

Bechman knows about Indiana agriculture because he grew up on a small dairy farm and worked with young farmers as a vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor before joining Farm Progress. He works closely with Purdue University specialists, Indiana Farm Bureau and commodity groups to cover cutting-edge issues affecting farmers. He specializes in writing crop stories with a focus on obtaining the highest and most economical yields possible.

Tom and his wife, Carla, have four children: Allison, Ashley, Daniel and Kayla, plus eight grandchildren. They raise produce for the food pantry and house 4-H animals for the grandkids on their small acreage near Franklin, Ind.

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