Jan 31, 2023
USDA grant focuses on cover crops to address carbon issue

With funding provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, Agoro Carbon Alliance will ramp up efforts to empower orchard operations in some of the leading nut and fruit producing states to integrate regenerative agriculture practices.

A $3.8 million grant will provide technical and financial assistance to producers to incorporate cover crops into their operations. The funding allows Agoro Carbon to broaden its carbon market opportunities for growers, expanding on industry-leading offerings in row crops and range and pasture to include select specialty crops.

“Agoro Carbon is committed to advancing sustainable agriculture practices across the U.S., and this grant will allow us to fast-track the addition of specialty crops to carbon farming,” Elliot Formal, interim CEO of Agoro Carbon Alliance, said in a news release. “We look forward to partnering with orchard growers to provide assistance and market opportunities for climate-friendly crops.”

Agoro Carbon’s partners in the project will help producers market climate-smart fruits and nuts in areas that typically have less access to fresh food. Participants in the program will include a variety of orchard sizes, with emphasis on smaller operations and minority-owned orchards in California, Washington, Oregon, Michigan and Florida.

“Through the tools and resources available because of this grant, Agoro Carbon will enable underserved growers to elevate their operations through the adoption and optimization of cover crops, which can ultimately increase a grower’s stability and profitability,” John Pullis, Agoro Carbon agronomist, said in the release. “We want to serve our agricultural communities better, and that starts with real inclusivity.”

The USDA grant was awarded in the amount of $3.8 million to Agoro Carbon as part of the second funding pool. Other partners in this grant include the California Walnut Board and Commission and GO Seed.

Agoro Carbon is also a major partner in two other grants. A $4.8 million project, led by researchers at Yale University who have since launched startup Lithos Carbon, will explore enhanced rock weathering in agricultural settings and a $4.7 million project, led by Grassland Oregon, will provide financial and technical support with cover crops to Tribal wheat farmers. In both projects, Agoro Carbon will partner with current and prospective farmers and ranchers to explore the viability of additional practices within a carbon program.

For more information, visit www.agorocarbonalliance.com.

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