USDA investing in projects to monitor climate benefits on CRP acres

The USDA is investing $10 million in a new initiative to sample, measure, and monitor soil carbon on Conservation Reserve Program acres.

Farm Service Agency Administrator Zach Ducheneaux says the announcement will help support farmers who have been utilizing conservation practices on their farms.

“This is one of the ways we can help those early adopters for some of those practices within our CRP program,” he says. “We’ve awarded 10 million in proposals for entities in three aspects of conservation to help quantify soil and atmospheric carbon sequestration.”

CRP Climate Change Mitigation Assessment Initiative projects will consider climate benefits of perennial grass, trees, and wetlands.

Ducheneaux says data will help USDA better target CRP practices on environmentally sensitive lands while strengthening modeling and conservatoin resources for producers.

The initiative will begin simple implementation this fall with three partners: Michigan State University, Mississippi State University in partnership with Alabama A&M University, and Ducks Unlimited.

In consultation with USDA, Michigan State University will sample and measure soil carbon and bulk density of CRP grasslands at an estimated 600 sites across the U.S. with a focus in the central states during this five-year project. 

Mississippi State University will partner with Alabama A&M University to collect above and below ground data at 162 sites across seven states documenting CRP-related benefits to soil and atmospheric carbon levels. This five-year project will focus within the Mississippi Delta and Southeast states.    

Ducks Unlimited and its partners will collect data on carbon stocks in wetland soils as well as vegetation carbon levels at 250 wetland sites across a 15-state area in the central U.S.  

This announcement is part of a broader, long-term soil carbon monitoring effort across ag lands that supports USDA’s commitment to deliver climate solutions through voluntary, incentive-based options.

Click here for more information.

Audio: Zach Ducheneaux

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