Commodities

Merkley, Wyden announce $100 million in awards for Oregon climate-smart commodities, rural projects

WASHINGTON (KTVZ) — Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., announced Monday four Oregon-based organizations will be receiving awards totaling $100 million to foster partnerships around Oregon to support the production and marketing of climate-smart commodities.

These projects are intended to expand markets for commodities that are produced with smaller or no carbon footprints, helping reduce the carbon pollution driving climate chaos and supporting both Oregon climate-friendly agricultural producers and the businesses that help producers with climate-smart systems.

 “Agriculture producers play a huge role in Oregon’s economy, and as the stewards of the land and we need to help make sure they have the means and incentives to continue producing and farming in a sustainable, climate-friendly way,” said Merkley. “These climate-smart awards are an important step forward for Oregon’s agriculture producers—and for our climate.”

“Oregon farmers, ranchers and wood producers have long generated jobs statewide, as well as quality goods sought after nationwide,” Wyden said. “This significant federal investment ensures they can continue to produce those jobs and goods using fresh strategies that fight the climate crisis in a smart and sustainable manner.”

Projects and recipients can be found below:

·       $15 million to Oregon Climate Trust for its TRACT Program Traceable Reforestation project: A project that addresses the need to expand and recover the nation’s forest estate to balance the demand for wood products with the increasing need for forests to serve as carbon reservoirs. Every acre planted & the volume of forest products generated will have a quantified and verified climate benefit in metric tons of CO2e.

·       $10 million to Sustainable Northwest for its Building a Regenerative Ranching Economy in the West project: This project will implement climate-smart grazing practices in beef production for 120 operations across 13 states and over 7 million acres of public and private rangelands, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing market returns for participants.

·       $50 million to Oregon State University (and other universities) for its Climate Smart Potatoes project: This project will build climate-smart markets and advance adoption of climate-smart management systems in the Pacific Northwest states of Idaho, Washington and Oregon where more than 62% of U.S. potatoes are grown and 15% of the domestic supply of seed potatoes are produced.

·       $25 million to Sustainable Northwest for its Building the Climate Smart Wood Economy project: This project brings together Tribal, small family forest, and nonprofit wood producers with data scientists and the design and construction industry to manage and restore tens of thousands of acres in Oregon. The project will quantify the positive impacts of climate-smart management on carbon sequestration, wildfire intensity, and cultural values, and will also build resources for project teams to navigate climate-smart markets through pre-design, design, and construction phases and support sale.

Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is part of USDA’s broader strategy to position agriculture and forestry as leaders in climate change mitigation through voluntary, incentive-based, market-driven approaches. Visit usda.gov/climate-smart-commodities to learn more about this effort, and usda.gov/climate-solutions for climate-related updates, resources and tools across the Department.

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