The USDA is looking for grant recipients who have innovative ideas to facilitate the creation for new markets for carbon credits.
Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Monday the availability of $20 million in grants for creation of the new markets. The markets will provide revenue sources for producers to use to address natural resource conservation challenges, USDA said.
These grants are part of the Conservation Innovation Grant program, authorized through the 2014 Farm Bill.
"USDA has been a leader in supporting market-based solutions to improve water quality and reduce carbon pollution," Secretary Vilsack said. "With this opportunity, we are supporting the next generation of projects that will help mature these markets and bring them to scale to benefit both producers and the environment."
For 2015, approximately half of the $20 million is available for environmental markets and conservation finance projects that engage agricultural producers. In past years, CIG has helped fund the development of the basic infrastructure of these markets.
This year, USDA, through the Natural Resources Conservation Service, is seeking applications for projects that will build on these efforts by scaling markets and improving efforts to use private investment in land conservation.
NRCS is seeking projects that focus on improved quantification tools, multi-resource crediting, and projects that engage corporate or financial partners.
USDA is also soliciting proposals for projects to stimulate natural resource improvements, including, but not limited to, improvements in water quantity, soil health, and wildlife habitat.
As in prior years, NRCS will accept pre-proposals for initial review before inviting entities to submit full proposals.
Pre-proposals are due Tuesday, February 24, 2015. To apply electronically, visit the grants.gov website or contact a local NRCS office.