Are you interested in climate-smart solutions for your agricultural or forestry operation? USDA offers voluntary programs and services to help you build soil health, sequester carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, enhance productivity and commodity marketability, and mitigate the impacts of climate change while building resilience to strengthen your operation.
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry for Your Operation
USDA offers financial assistance and one-on-one technical advice through a suite of voluntary programs to directly support farmers, ranchers, private forest landowners, and partners in implementing climate-smart management solutions.
From 2023 to 2027, the Inflation Reduction Act provides an additional $19.5 billion to support climate change mitigation practices through USDA’s oversubscribed conservation programs. These additional funds will help farmers and ranchers implement expanded conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase storage of carbon in their soil and trees. USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round. You should apply by your state's ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle; but if you apply after the program ranking date, NRCS will automatically consider your application during future funding cycles. Learn more.
Programs that offer assistance with climate-smart agriculture and forestry include:
Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) helps landowners and other entities protect, restore, and enhance wetlands, grasslands, and working farms and ranches through conservation easements. ACEP is available through USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
Easements can be leveraged to keep agricultural land in production, thereby maintaining carbon sequestration benefits over time. Easements may also be used to restore and enhance wetlands, which sequester carbon and contribute to climate resiliency.
Conservation Stewardship Program
The Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) offers technical and financial assistance to help agricultural and forest producers take existing conservation efforts to the next level. Through this program, NRCS provides opportunities for producers to apply conservation practices across their entire operation through a five-year contract.
If you’ve already pursued conservation across your working land and would like to do more, CSP could deliver new opportunities to apply climate-smart practices.
Conservation Reserve Program
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) provides rental payments and cost-share assistance for agricultural producers to put environmentally sensitive land into 10-15 year contracts to plant resource-conserving plant species that control soil erosion, improve water quality, develop wildlife habitat, and boost carbon sequestration. FSA updated CRP in 2021 to include a Climate-Smart Practice Incentive as well as invested in monitoring, assessment and evaluation of the program's climate benefits.
Environmental Quality Incentives Program
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) provides financial and one-on-one technical assistance to implement conservation practices to meet your specific conservation and production goals.
EQIP supports climate-smart conservation practices that enable agricultural producers and land managers to sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across a diversity of operations while building resilience for the future.
USDA offers additional programs that support climate-smart conservation efforts through grant and partnership opportunities. Programs include:
Conservation Innovation Grants
The Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program drives public and private sector innovation in natural resource conservation through projects that address our nation’s water quality, air quality, soil health, and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations and delivering climate solutions. CIG is available through NRCS.
The CIG program has three components – CIG Classic, CIG On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials, and state-level CIG.
Regional Conservation Partnership Program
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), conservation partners work in collaboration with NRCS to help farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners implement systems that conserve water and soil resources, improve the health of wildlife habitats, and increase climate resilience.
Partners apply for RCPP projects through NRCS, then producers, landowners, and partners sign contracts to carry out conservation activities.
USDA Service Centers are staffed with conservation experts ready to provide custom, one-on-one support based on your specific climate-smart management and production goals. Through Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA), NRCS offers targeted advice and information – based on the latest science and research – to help producers make informed decisions. This support is offered at no cost to producers.
Contact your local USDA Service Center to learn more about programs and services to support climate-smart solutions for your working land. Visit farmers.gov/program-deadlines for more information on application deadlines and state ranking dates.
Climate-Smart Agriculture and Nutrient Management
Nutrient management is an important part of climate-smart agriculture. Excess nutrients on the land can lead to nitrogen losses to the atmosphere. Nutrient management maximizes crop-nitrogen uptake and has a compelling and cost-effective role to play in mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.
The Inflation Reduction Act will deliver $19.5 billion from 2023 to 2027 in new conservation funding to support climate-smart agriculture, including for NRCS to improve opportunities for nutrient management. NRCS is targeting funding, increasing program flexibilities, and expanding partnership to develop nutrient management plans. This is part of USDA's broader effort to address future fertilizer availability and cost challenges for U.S. producers. Learn more.
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Funding Opportunity
On February 7, 2022, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture would invest $1 billion in partnerships to expand market opportunities for climate-smart commodities and support America’s climate-smart farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners. Because of the unprecedented demand and interest in Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, and the potential for meaningful opportunities to benefit producers through the proposals, USDA has tripled this commitment to more than $3 billion. On September 14, 2022, Secretary Vilsack announced USDA is investing up to $2.8 billion in 70 selected projects under the first funding pool of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities funding opportunity, with projects from the second funding pool to be announced later this year.
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will finance pilot projects that create market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and forestry products that use climate-smart practices and include innovative, cost-effective ways to measure and verify greenhouse gas benefits. USDA is no longer accepting project applications for this funding opportunity.
This funding opportunity defines climate-smart commodities as being produced using agricultural (farming, ranching, or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. Funding will be provided to partners through the USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation for pilot projects. Spanning up to five years, the 70 projects announced on September 14 will:
- Provide technical and financial assistance to producers to implement climate-smart production practices on a voluntary basis on working lands.
- Pilot innovative and cost-effective methods for quantification, monitoring, reporting and verification of greenhouse gas benefits.
- Develop markets and promote the resulting climate-smart commodities.
USDA anticipates that these 70 projects will result in:
- Hundreds of expanded markets and revenue streams for producers and commodities across agriculture ranging from traditional corn to specialty crops.
- More than 50 thousand farms reached, encompassing over 20-25 million acres of working land engaged in climate-smart production practices such as cover crops, no-till and nutrient management.
- More than 50 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent sequestered over the lives of the projects. This is equivalent to removing more than 10 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
- More than 50 universities, including multiple minority-serving institutions, engaged and helping advance projects, especially with outreach and monitoring, measurement, reporting and verification.
- Proposals for the 70 selected projects include plans to match on average over 50% of the federal investment with nonfederal funds.
Visit usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities for additional information.
Disaster Protection and Recovery
Farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners experience the impacts of climate change through shifting weather patterns and increasingly frequent and severe storms, floods, drought, and wildfire. At USDA, we offer a suite of programs to help offset losses as well as crop insurance and other coverage options to help manage risk and provide a safety net for your operation.
Post Application Coverage Endorsement
In crop year 2022, USDA’s Risk Management Agency introduced Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) to help corn farmers improve water quality while gaining efficiencies and reducing costs by specifically supporting the practice of “split application.” PACE provides supplemental coverage when a producer is prevented from post/split applying nitrogen in the two to three week V3-V10 corn growth stages due to wet weather and field conditions. In September 2022, RMA expanded PACE to include additional states.
Visit rma.usda.gov/topics/conservation for more information about these and other climate-smart insurance programs.
Visit farmers.gov/protection-recovery to learn more about options to prepare for and recover from the impacts of natural disasters. Use our Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool to determine what programs might be right for you through five simple steps.
Find Your Local Service Center
USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to ﬁnd your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.