$1 Billion Available in 2022 to Support Climate-Smart Commodities

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is accepting proposals for the FY 2022 Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities with a total funding availability of $1 billion. Funding will be divided into two funding pools: the deadline for the first funding pool is April 8, 2022. Proposals for the second funding pool are due May 27, 2022.

What is the purpose of this program? The purpose of this program is to build markets and invest in America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers, and forest owners to strengthen US rural and agricultural communities. Through this funding opportunity, USDA will support the production and marketing of climate-smart commodities through a set of pilot projects that provide voluntary incentives through partners to producers and land owners including early adopters, 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.

What is a climate-smart commodity? For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a “climate-smart commodity” is an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching, or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon.

Who is eligible to apply for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities? Eligibility for this opportunity is limited to the following entity types:

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

The primary applicant must be an entity, as opposed to an individual. Commodity organizations, technical service provider organizations (including university extension), farming cooperatives, organizations representing historically underrepresented communities, local producers, micro-producers, forestry organizations and others are encouraged to apply.

Furthermore, the primary applicant for this program must demonstrate an existing relationship with and or prior experience working with producers or landowners. Additionally, at minimum one project partner must have existing experience working with underserved producers or landowners.

What are the two funding pools for this program? Funding will be provided through two funding pools.

First Funding Pool (proposals from $5 million to $100 million per proposal): Proposals in the first funding pool will be 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 served producers. These proposals are due April 8, 2022.

Second Funding Pool (proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999 per proposal): Proposals in the second funding pool are limited to particularly innovative projects with an emphasis on:

  • Enrollment of small and/or underserved producers and/or
  • Monitoring, reporting, and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions.

These proposals are due May 27, 2022

What kind of practices are eligible for this program? The primary focus of projects for this program must be on-farm (or forest) production of climate-smart commodities, as well as verifiable on-farm (or forest) GHG emissions and carbon sequestration benefits.

Highly competitive projects will include agricultural and forestry practices or combination of practices, and/or practice enhancements that provide GHG benefits and/or carbon sequestration Practices may include but are not limited to the following:

  • 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
  • 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 interceding
  • Soil amendments, like biochar.

What are considerations for successful projects?

All projects must be tied to the development of markets and promotions of climate-smart commodities. Markets for climate-smart commodities may include companies or processors sourcing climate-smart commodities to meet internal targets or other supply chain goals, biofuel and renewable energy markets, companies seeking to sell branded consumer products, or other opportunities that could provide a premium or additional revenue for participating producers and landowners.

Sufficient incentives to encourage producer participation, as well as, generation of verifiable greenhouse gas reductions and carbon sequestration are critical to project success and will be considered in evaluation criteria.

Requirements for (1) quantification and (2) monitoring and verification of GHG benefits through Partnership projects include the USDA’s Carbon Management Evaluation Tool (COMET) and other innovative quantification methodologies, as applicable. These requirements are explained in detail on Page 19 of this project’s National Funding Opportunity.

What are the funding levels? The first funding pool is for proposals from $5 million to $100 million. The second funding pool is for proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999. The total funding availability for this program is approximately $1 billion.

Is there a cost-sharing/match requirement? There is not a specific match requirement for this funding opportunity. However, applications will be evaluated, in part on the relative contribution on non-Federal resources to the project.

What is the grant duration? Projects may be between one and five years in duration, with up to two years of no cost extensions on a case-by-case basis.

Note: Projects must demonstrate project results on the ground within one year of the project start date.

What is the award timeline? Proposals for the first funding pool are due April 8, 2022. The deadline for the second funding pool is May 28, 2022.

USDA NRCS anticipates making selections by Summer 2022 and expects to execute awards by September 30, 2022.  

The full National Funding Opportunity is here.  

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.


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