The five-year project is designed to work with Texas producers to adopt climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices, assess the benefits of these practices and develop models for voluntary, market-based climate solutions.
“We are looking for producers who make their living raising and selling commodities and are interested in adopting climate-smart commodities and practices on their land,” said AgriLife Research scientist Julie Howe, Ph.D., soil chemistry and fertility professor, in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
Howe is leading the $65 million project, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service, along with Nithya Rajan, Ph.D., AgriLife Research agronomy and agroecology professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
“This is a great opportunity for producers to work with a wide variety of experts to improve the efficiency of their working land while receiving incentives to try agricultural practices that could make their operations more environmentally sustainable,” Howe said.
Application period now open
Howe said the application process is now open to all Texas producers, and the first round of application reviews will take place in February.
If selected, participants will meet with an implementation planner/Climate-Smart Ambassador, complete a contract, participate in an environmental assessment evaluation for select practices, implement the practices, and meet again with a Climate-Smart Ambassador for continued measurement and assessment.
The lands of the producers selected must be in Texas and not currently enrolled in any existing program that pays federal funds for conservation practices. The complete set of guidelines, application and information about the initiative is online at https://climatesmart.tamu.edu/.
Applications will be accepted until a sufficient number of participants are found, based on the type of commodity and acreage submitted by enrollees, said Jason Vogel, AgriLife Research project manager in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.
Applications will be sorted by commodity type: forestry; orchards; vegetables; perennial forage, pastures and rangeland; annual crops; and concentrated animal feeding operations.
Vogel said the application process will end as soon as sufficient applications are received, so interested individuals are encouraged to apply as soon as possible.
He said the web-based application can be filled out online. Producers uncomfortable with the online process can schedule an appointment to complete the form. Call 979-314-8095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an interview.
All applicants must have or acquire a Farm Service Agency number to participate, Vogel said.
For more information on the Texas Climate-Smart Initiative, visit https://climatesmart.tamu.edu/.