US – Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national milk marketing cooperative in the United States, is among the 70 selected projects that will benefit from the US$2.8 billion under the first pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity.

The US government through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will invest up to US$45 million in DFA to scale methane emissions reductions and increase soil carbon sequestration on U.S. dairy farms as well as develop and market climate-smart, low-carbon dairy products.

Kevin O’Donnell, senior vice president of sustainability at Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) said: “We’re thrilled to receive a Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant from USDA.

We appreciate their support for accelerating the adoption of innovative, sustainable agricultural practices on our member farms as well as developing and marketing low-carbon dairy products to meet growing consumer demand.”

He added that these funds will allow DFA to build on this foundation, using our Cooperative business model to ensure benefits are captured at its member farms, while also allowing the company to have an opportunity to establish a more circular economy.

The circular economy is said can increase crop resilience in dairy production, innovate more widespread climate and related product solutions faster, and better position DFA to continue providing sustainable nutrition to families around the world.

Partners as announced by USDA joining DFA in this project include Dairy One Cooperative, Inc., MyFarm, LLC, Dairy Nutrition Management and Consulting, LLC, Nestlé, Mars, Unilever, Barry Callebaut, and Dairy Management Inc.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council, National Milk Producers Federation, Global Dairy Platform, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, CoBank, and AGPROfessionals, would also be part of partners.

Spanning up to five years, USDA said these 70 projects will provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices voluntarily on working lands; 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.

Funding for Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will be delivered through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation in two pools.

The first funding pool included proposals seeking funds ranging from US$5 million to US$100 million. USDA received over 450 proposals from more than 350 entities.

The strength of the projects identified led USDA to increase its investment from the initial US$1 billion Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced earlier this year.

Projects from the second funding pool will be announced later this year, which will include funding requests from US$250,000 to US$4.9 million.

USDA anticipated investment will triple to more than $3 billion in pilots that will create market opportunities for American commodities produced using climate-smart production practices.

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