South Dakota State University today announced that it will receive up to $80 million for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Initiative. The USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first pool of funding opportunities.
The USDA’s website lists the approximate funding ceiling for SDSU at $80 million, making it the largest grant ever received by the university. Final funding levels will be determined in the coming months.
“This is a historic day for South Dakota State University and the state of South Dakota,” said Daniel Scholl, SDSU’s vice president for research and economic development. “These types of investments in research are vital to helping solve the complex issues of today and answer questions that plague our society. The trust the USDA has in our project and our partners to invest at this level only shows the work that is being done at our university and the quality of our faculty and students to conduct this type of research.”
Titled “The Grass is Greener on the Other Side: Developing Climate-Smart Beef and Bison Commodities,” SDSU’s project will create market opportunities for beef and bison producers who utilize climate-smart agriculture grazing and land-management practices. The project will guide and educate producers on climate-smart practices most suited for their operations, manage large-scale climate-smart data that will be used by producers to improve decision-making and create market demand for climate-smart beef/bison commodity markets.
“As a researcher and administrator, this is a wonderful opportunity to be involved in a project that has such an impact on our state and the region,” said Kristi Cammack, project lead and director of SDSU West River Research and Extension. “The livestock industry is a major driver of the overall economic health of South Dakota. The work we will be doing through the climate-smart commodities project will ensure the industry continues to grow and thrive for generations to come. I am excited for our SDSU team to begin working with the tremendous partners we have and help make a difference for South Dakotans and others across the country.”
Other major partners on the project include Millborn Seeds, Buffalo Ridge Cattle Company, AgSpire, Tanka Fund, Cold Creek Buffalo Company, SDSU Extension, the SDSU Center of Excellence for Bison Studies, the National Bison Association, Texas A&M University, Yard Stick, C-Lock and SmartScore.ai.
In addition to SDSU, only five other universities are listed as the lead on projects projected at $50 million in funding or higher—Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Clemson University, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Regents of the University of Idaho and Oregon State University.
Spanning up to five years, the 70 projects will:
- Provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on working land;
- Pilot innovative and cost-effective methods for quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas benefits; and
- Develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.