The US Department of Agriculture announced it is giving away grants on projects of farmers, ranchers and forest landowners to use carbon sink practices that curb climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.
The funding totals $1 billion and will focus on projects that implement climate-friendly conservation practices, such as no-till, cover crops and rotational grazing, measuring and monitoring greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural operations and capturing and storing CO2.
Climate-friendly methods that capture CO2 and store it in soil are already implemented by some farmers, however, others are wary of upfront costs and uncertain returns that could vary across different farming operations and locations.
The grants will focus on qualified public and private entities including state and local governments, non-profits, small businesses, tribal governments and organizations, and colleges and universities. An entity can apply for a grant ranging between $5 million to $100 million. Applications from farmers are due by April 8, while those seeking smaller grants are due May 27.
As many US farmers have endured major losses from worsening floods, storms and droughts, addressing climate change has become a matter of survival. Agriculture is one of the sectors most affected by global warming which is why the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change has warned we must change the way they produce food to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
“They’ve seen it, they feel it, and they’ve been hurt by it,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The agriculture sector accounts for more than 10% of US greenhouse gas emissions which indicates various opportunities to improve current natural carbon sink practices. The implementation of carbon dioxide removal methods in every sector of the economy is an important foundation in building a sustainable future.