Feb 9, 2023
More Than $35M Granted From USDA to Hemp-Related Projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted more than $35 million to five hemp-related projects through its Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Project.

Overall, the USDA will be granting a total of $3.1 billion to 141 selected projects. Through this new opportunity, USDA will finance partnerships to support the production and marketing of climate-smart commodities via a set of pilot projects lasting one to five years.

USDA anticipates that these projects will result in:

  • Hundreds of expanded markets and revenue streams for farmers and ranchers and commodities across agriculture and forestry ranging from traditional corn to specialty crops.
  • More than 60,000 farms reached, encompassing more than 25 million acres of working land engaged in climate-smart production practices, like cover crops, no-till and nutrient management, as well as pasture and forestry management.
  • More than 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent sequestered over the lives of the projects. This is equivalent to removing more than 12 million gasoline-powered passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
  • Involvement of nearly 100 universities, including over 30 minority serving institutions. This will bring new ideas and innovative skills in monitoring and outreach. This includes:
    • 11 projects with a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) as the lead and more than 35 projects with HBCUs as major partners; and
    • Six projects with a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as the lead and nearly 20 projects with HSIs as major partners.
  • Over 20 tribes and tribal groups leading and partnering on many projects and representing tribes across a wide geography.
  • Proposals for the 141 selected projects include plans to match on average 50% of the federal investment with non-federal funds.

Below are the five recipients for hemp-related projects:

1. Industrial Hemp for Fiber and Grain

This project aims to remedy lack of available data on environmentally beneficial practices for hemp production by providing open-accessible data and training and enabling monetization of climate-smart practices through a pilot designation in a digital marketplace. Additionally, this project develops an inclusive workforce that specializes in implementation of climate-smart practices by engaging underserved producers and financially supporting them as they learn these practices.
Lead Partner: Iconoclast Industries, LLC
Major Partners: Cedar Meadow Farm LLC, University of Florida, University of Georgia, Stockton University, The Shaffer Group, Texas A&M University, Pecan Street Inc, CultivateAI, Florida Department of Agriculture, Green Ocean Sciences, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Ganjanesh Bioscience, INDHemp, Global Hemp Association, 357 Hemp Logistics, SB Friedman Development Advisors, M4MM, Canndigenous, EntreVation LLC, Stillman College, Legacy Farms Group
Major Commodities: Hemp
Approximate Funding Ceiling: $15,000,000

2. Scaling up the industrial hemp supply chain as carbon negative feedstock for fuel and fiber.

This project will help with commercializing hemp crops while driving soil carbon sequestration and climate resilience. The project aims to provide effective valuation and monetization of environmental services, including carbon dioxide removal via implementation of new genetics and management practices to increase sustainability of hemp as an annual crop in the U.S.
Lead Partner: Lincoln University
Major Partners: National Hemp Association, Kansas Farmers Union, Missouri Farmers Union, Missouri Organic Association, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Oklahoma Black Historical Research Project, Oklahoma Farmers Union, ShowMe State Hemp Association, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Donald Danforth Plant Science Research Center, Oklahoma State University, Prairie View A&M Univ., St. Louis Univ., Southeast Missouri State Univ., Univ. of Missouri, Benchmark Design, Cquester Analytics, DTE Materials, HempWood, Midwest Natural Fiber, New West Genetics, REA Resource Recovery Systems, Rockwater, Renaissance Fiber
Major Commodities: Hemp
Approximate Funding Ceiling: $5,000,000

3. A Comprehensive Evaluation of the Impact of Industrial Hemp (Cannabis sativa) and Soil Microalgae Consortium (Chlorella spp and Scenedesmus spp) as High-Efficiency Carbon Sequestration Model Plants: Implications for Climate Change and Soil Improvement

Industrial hemp for fiber would be cultivated and marketed in the southeastern United States as a high efficiency carbon sequestration and a climate-smart commodity crop. The project plans to provide financial assistance to small and/or underserved farmers to implement Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry practices. The National Hemp Growers Cooperative, LLC (NHGC) would engage industry partners to create markets for processing industrial hemp into several climate-smart commodities. While developing markets for farmers, the NHGC plan to buy all industrial hemp from all farmers during the duration the grant.

Lead Partner: Florida A&M University
Other Major Partners: Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), Alabama A&M University, Southern University, University of Florida (UF-IFAS)
Major Commodities: Hemp
Approximate Funding Ceiling: $4,990,000

4. Sustainable Agricultural Solutions to Plastic Pollution

Through this project, underserved producers would receive financial and technical assistance for climate-smart practices including cultivation of hemp as a cover crop, and other rotational crop trials. The project plans to evaluate industrial hemp bioplastics, develop software to calculate the environmental impact of a new feedstock and identify climate-smart market opportunities.

Lead Partner: PlantSwitch, Inc
Other Major Partners: Ag Processing Solutions, Brian Furnish, Leistritz Extrusion, Extrusion Technology and Innovation, Plant Based Products Council, SmartFarm Innovation Network, Tillery Sims. Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Virginia State University, Virginia Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education
Major Commodities: Hemp
Approximate Funding Ceiling: $4,940,000

5. Climate-Smart Fiber Hemp: A Versatile Thread Connecting the Nation’s Underserved Farmers, Climate Change Mitigation and Novel Market Opportunities

This project would be a collaborative initiative to expand the production of industrial hemp as a climate-smart commodity, evaluate its greenhouse gas benefits (GHG), and promote the value of market development to a cross-section of production agriculture, including small, medium, and underserved producers across the state of Tennessee. Special efforts are planned to identify and recruit underserved producers (e.g. minority producers, women, veterans), as well as farmers from the nine most economically distressed counties in Tennessee and the 30 counties at risk for becoming economically distressed.

Lead Partner: Tennessee State University
Other Major Partners: Tennessee State University, Hemp Alliance of Tennessee, University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, Tennessee Department of Agriculture, The Tennessee New Farmer Academy, based at Tennessee State University
Major Commodities: Hemp
Approximate Funding Ceiling:  $4,972,800


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