Ag groups receive grant to transition U.S. beef to carbon neutral
American Farmland Trust was awarded a $30 million grant from the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. The organization will partner with the Integrity Beef Alliance, Indigo Agriculture, Earth Optics, Freedman Heirs Foundation, AgriWebb, Regenified, OpenTEAM, and U.S. Biochar Initiative to transition the U.S. beef supply chain to carbon neutral.
The project is designed to improve the production of climate-smart beef through expanding market opportunities such as direct sales through local farmers markets, regional distribution channels, and national and global food companies. It will also engage and train more than 50 producer mentors to help transition more than 750 beef producers with the adoption of climate-smart grazing practices. The American Farmland Trust led-strategy calculates that there will be an increase of soil function on about 600,000 acres and permanently protect at least 3,000-4,500 acres of threatened farmland.
“We are excited about the level of impact we will be able to achieve with this project,” says Bianca Moebius-Clune, AFT Climate Initiative Director and Principal Investigator. “We anticipate being able to sequester at least 1-5 million tons of CO2e during the 5-year project, but more importantly we project self-sustaining and accelerating expansion of climate smart system adoption and stable, broadly available verified climate smart marketing opportunities beyond the end of USDA funding.”
As a partner, The U.S. Biochar Initiative plans to integrate sustainably sourced biochar into regenerative grazing and manure management. The organization looks forward to seeing the creation of markets that could scale up for permanent carbon removal, which enhances nutrient management, soil health, and long-term biological carbon sequestration.
“The USDA grant is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate regenerative approaches to the beef cattle industry that are good for the environment, people, animals and the ranch bottom line. Not only will the Integrity Beef Legacy program facilitate broad market access to higher premiums for climate smart beef for all sizes of operations, but we plan to continue support for underserved producers after the project period by allotting up to 50% of Alliance net income as grants to new producers to help offset costs of regenerative transitions,” says Robert Wells, Executive Director, Integrity Beef Alliance.