A five-year pilot project led by Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) has secured USD 80 million (EUR 80.1m) in federal funding to develop a climate-smart agriculture value chain where farmers planting prairie grasses and cover crops are rewarded with environmental credit compensation and renewable energy revenue, the firm said on Wednesday.
The project, involving 14 public and private partners, is called Horizon II and seeks to demonstrate a “climate-smart future for corn, soybean, livestock, and renewable natural gas production” in Iowa and Missouri.
The grant has been awarded under the first pool of funds from the US Department of Agriculture’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities programme. A total of 70 projects will get up to USD 2.8 billion under the first pool, the department announced on Wednesday.
RAE, a developer of renewable natural gas (RNG) production facilities, said the funding advances its mission to develop a market-based solution that encourages the restoration of native grasses and prairie plants through the use of the sustainably harvested biomass for RNG.
As part of the project, farmers, livestock producers and landowners will get compensation for greenhouse gas reductions and carbon sequestration in the soil under an outcomes-based carbon credit programme. Cover cropping and grassland restoration will also be stimulated through a programme for renewable natural gas production from the anaerobic digestion of herbaceous biomass combined with manure.
The company noted that climate-smart agricultural systems bring additional benefits such as soil health, clean water, flood control and habitat for native wildlife.
“Since founding RAE, our overarching goal has been to provide farmers an alternative way to use land, especially highly erodible acres, in ways that will benefit the environment, wildlife, and their own livelihood,” commented RAE founder and chief executive Rudi Roeslein.
(USD 1 = EUR 1.001)
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