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RAE-Led Partnership Secures $80M for Climate-Smart Agriculture Project ‘Horizon II’

RAE-Led Partnership Secures $80M for Climate-Smart Agriculture Project 'Horizon II'. AgTech; Agriculture; Agriculture Technology

Key Takeaways

  1. Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) leads a partnership of 13 public and private entities that have secured an $80 million grant from the USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program.
  2. The funding will support a five-year pilot project called ‘Horizon II’ in Iowa and Missouri, focusing on climate-smart practices in corn, soybean, pork, and beef production.
  3. Horizon II aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve carbon sequestration, and create new opportunities for small and underserved producers.
  4. Through an outcomes-based carbon credit program, the project will incentivize farmers, livestock producers, and landowners.
  5. Once verified, the program could be extended to other agricultural commodities and regions, offering additional environmental benefits.

Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) has spearheaded a partnership of 13 public and private entities to secure an $80 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. The grant will fund a five-year pilot project in Iowa and Missouri, known as ‘Horizon II,’ to advance climate-smart agricultural practices.

Project Objectives

The Horizon II project aims to enhance climate-smart markets, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve carbon sequestration in producing corn, soybean, pork, and beef commodities. The project also seeks new opportunities for small and underserved producers, benefiting soil health, clean water, flood control, and native wildlife habitats.

Environmental and Wildlife Benefits

RAE Founder and CEO Rudi Roeslein stated that the grant is a significant step toward the company’s core mission of developing market-based solutions for environmental and wildlife benefits. The project will put economic value on restored native grasses, prairie plants, and winter-hardy cover crops by using sustainably harvested biomass to create renewable natural gas.

Pilot Program Details

The pilot program will be developed, deployed, and verified in Iowa and Missouri, where a large portion of the nation’s corn, soybeans, and pork is produced. Horizon II will incentivize improved management of nitrogen fertilizer and other agricultural inputs, which is critical for the success of climate-smart practices. Farmers, livestock producers, and landowners will be compensated for greenhouse gas reductions and carbon sequestration through an outcomes-based carbon credit program.

Collaborative Efforts

The project involves multiple partner organizations, including Conservation Districts of Iowa, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University, Missouri Prairie Foundation, and others. Lisa Schulte-Moore, co-director of the Bioeconomy Institute at Iowa State University, expressed excitement about the USDA’s investment in commercializing research and development for a climate-smart commodity supply chain.

Future Prospects

Once fully developed and verified, the Horizon II program could be extended to other agricultural commodities like dairy and poultry and other regions of the country. The project aims to add further value regarding soil health, clean water, flood control, and habitat for native wildlife.

Image provided by Roeslein Alternative Energy

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