WASHINGTON – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Tuesday that the first round of funding through the new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities received over 450 proposals ranging from $5 million to $100 million each.
The deadline for large-scale proposals closed on May 6. The applications that the USDA received came from over 350 groups, including nonprofit, for-profit and government entities; farmer cooperatives; conservation, energy and environmental groups; state, tribal and local governments; universities (including minority serving institutions); small businesses and large corporations. The applications covered every state in the nation as well as tribal lands, D.C. and Puerto Rico, which demonstrates the tremendous geographic scope of this need.
“The Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity has created tremendous interest from a diverse cross-section of groups from across the country,” said Vilsack. “As we review the applications received in this first round of funding, we're looking forward to seeing the details of the projects proposed, and hope we have a similar application response in the second round.”
Proposals in the first funding pool include 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 underserved producers.
Prior to the first deadline, a detailed informational webinar on all aspects of the funding opportunity was shared with over 1,000 registrants and was recorded and posted on USDA’s website for many more to view. USDA also hosted six meet and greet webinars with a unique opportunity for partners from all backgrounds to connect and share or seek expertise for the funding opportunity. These participant lists from the meet and greet webinars are also posted on USDA’s website to allow for additional connections.
Over the next few months, USDA will evaluate these applications for completeness and rank them based on the technical criteria provided in the funding opportunity. Awards for the first round of funding are anticipated later this summer.
The deadline for the second round of funding is on June 10 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern. This funding pool includes proposals from $250,000 to $4,999,999 that emphasize the enrollment of small and/or underserved producers, and/or monitoring, reporting and verification activities developed at minority-serving institutions.