USDA invests up to $2.8B in 70 climate-smart projects

By Erin Voegele | September 14, 2022

The USDA on Sept. 14 announced it is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of the agency’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Communities funding opportunity. Projects selected from the second funding pool will be announced later this year.

The USDA launched the program in February, announcing that the new program 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 (GHG) benefits.

For the purposes of the funding opportunity, a climate-smart commodity is defined as an agricultural commodity that is produced using agricultural (farming, ranching or forestry) practices that reduce GHG emissions or sequester carbon.

Applications for the the first funding pool, which covers proposals from $5 million to $100 million, were accepted through May 6. Applications for the second funding pool, which includes proposals from $250,000 to $4.99 million, were due June 10.

The 70 selected projects selected for funding under the first pool of the program include partners representing a wide range of bioenergy interests, including the Renewable Energy Group, Archer Daniels Midland Co., Mid-America Biofuels, Roeslein Alternative Energy LLC, Biostar Renewables, National Sorghum Producers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, K-Coe Isom, Conestoga Energy, Kansas Ethanol, CoBank, Marquis Energy, Western New York Energy, High Plains Biochar, Biochar Co-Op, Global Clean Energy Holdings Inc., Sustainable Oils, Bakersfield Renewable Fuels, U.S. Biochar Initiative, Gevo Inc., Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy LLC, Show-Me Energy, various state corn and soybean groups, and others.

One of the 70 projects, led by Roeslein Alternative Energy, focuses in part on renewable natural gas (RNG) production. Another project, led by Gevo, aims to create critical structural climate-smart market incentives for low-intensity corn, as well as accelerate the production of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Several projects also focus on crops that can be used as biofuel feedstocks, including those focused on sorghum, hemp, camelina, as well as more traditional crops like corn and soybeans.

A full list of funded projects is available on the USDA website