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While the US has always been a leader in agricultural innovation, we will have to drastically accelerate the rate of research and technological development to meet future food demands while ensuring the sector is part of the climate solution.

We have seen the number of ag and food tech companies, as well as the private investment pouring into them, skyrocket over the last decade. But public investment is also a crucial piece of the puzzle, especially when it comes to supporting food and agriculture research and innovation opportunities that may have longer timelines, involve substantial risk and financial uncertainty. and have social and environmental objectives.

For these reasons, we are very encouraged by the Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities Program and the recent announcement of the first round of recipients. According to the USDA, this effort is intended to “expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct meaningful benefits to production agriculture including for small and underserved producers.” The program, which was informed by over 400 comments received in the request for information published last year, was first announced in February 2022 and was initially slated to allocate $1 billion in funds to deserving projects.

On September 14, Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the USDA will in fact be investing $2.8 billion in 70 selected pilot projects under the first group of partnerships for the climate-smart commodities funding opportunity due to an overwhelming pool of worthy proposals and their considerable potential to benefit producers. These proposals were seeking funds ranging from $5 million to $100 million, and the pilots will last five years. Greenhouse gas reduction and/or sequestration benefits and equity were two of the key project evaluation criteria as well as benefits to producers and the meaningful inclusion of small and underserved producers.

Photo courtesy of Arable

Food and Ag Entrepreneurs Selected

We are also proud that a number of our portfolio companies will be involved in the selected projects.

Sound Agriculture is part of the Climate SMART (Scaling Mechanisms for Agriculture’s Renegerative Transformation), project which aims to catalyze a self-sustaining, market-based network to broaden farmer access, scale adoption of climate-smart practices, and sustainably produce grain and dairy commodities.

Growers Edge is participating in The Climate-Smart Agriculture Finance Initiative which will use innovative finance mechanisms to accelerate climate-smart practice uptake by farmers.

Arable is part of the National Sorghum Producers Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities Project, focused on implementing climate-smart production practices across hundreds of thousands of acres of sorghum working lands.

Maple Hill Creamery is leading the Growing the Supply and Market for Climate-Smart Grass-Fed Organic Dairy via Maple Hill Creamery Project.

EarthOptics and Trace Genomics will be supporting the GEVO Climate-Smart Farm-to-Flight Program, which aims to create critical structural climate-smart market incentives for low carbon-intensity corn as well as to accelerate the production of sustainable aviation fuel to reduce the sectors’ dependence on fossil-based fuels.

EarthOptics is also part of the Climate-Smart Camelina project and the Producer Led Collaborative Effort to Fundamentally Transition the U.S. Beef Supply Chain to Carbon Neutral.

These companies will be employing their innovations and talent to support their respective projects while also gaining critical data and experience from implementing their technologies on the ground.

Photo courtesy of Sound Agriculture

Environmental and Market Benefits

The USDA anticipates that these 70 projects will result in hundreds of expanded markets and revenue streams for productions and commodities across agriculture. They involve more than 50,000 farms, encompassing over 20-25 million acres of working land engaged in climate-smart production practices, as well as more than 50 universities including multiple minority-serving institutions that are helping advance projects, especially in the areas of outreach and monitoring, measurement reporting and verification.

These projects will also bring together different types of stakeholders such as NGOs, corporations, and local, state and tribal governments. Additionally, the USDA anticipates that more than 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent will be sequestered over the lives of these projects. And while almost $3 billion is a sizable amount of funding, proposals for the 70 projects include plans to match over 50 percent of the federal investment with nonfederal funds on average.

R&D has always played a pivotal role in fueling productivity growth and innovation in agriculture in the US. As farmers face obstacles from feeding a rapidly growing population to managing increasingly scarce resources, facing the impacts of climate change, and meeting evolving consumer demands for healthy, sustainable and traceable foods, public-private partnerships are essential to accelerating meaningful solutions to urgent food and agriculture challenges. By working together these sectors can pool financing, mitigate risk, access larger and more diverse pools of talent and develop new potential markets.

At S2G, we believe it is programs like these that can catalyze resources and willpower to meet the demands of the future. We hope to continue furthering opportunities for collaboration between the public and private sectors to mobilize the people and resources needed to accelerate innovation in the food and ag sector.

Celebrating Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities

Celebrating Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities


Josie Lane

Art Director

Introduce your team! Click here to add images, text and links, or connect data from your collection.


Josie Lane

Art Director

Introduce your team! Click here to add images, text and links, or connect data from your collection.

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