Hundreds of Organic Valley farmer cooperatives will benefit from a USDA grant aimed at carbon reduction and removal.
The USDA partnership program included a $25 million award to the cooperative headquartered in rural Wisconsin focused on helping small organic family farms establish and measure on-farm practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grant will provide technical and financial resources to accelerate the adoption of 1,200 new carbon reduction and removal projects on 500 Organic Valley member-farms across rural America over the next five years.
Through this program, Organic Valley will include direct farmer payments for carbon reduction and removal, as well as cost-share for design and implementation of climate-smart agriculture practices. Climate Smart Practices included in Organic Valley's Carbon Insetting Program include improvements to grazing, pasture and croplands, manure management, feed supplements, agroforestry and solar energy.
The funding will provide the resources needed to scale the Organic Valley Carbon Insetting Program (OV-CIP) from a one-year pilot to a full multi-year program. With funding from USDA and in partnership with more than 20 climate-smart grant partners, this award helps Organic Valley work to achieve carbon neutrality without the use of carbon offsets. The resulting carbon reductions and removals will be applied to Organic Valley-branded products and will help lower the carbon footprint of dairy and eggs. A portion of the carbon insets will also be shared with participating ingredient supply chain partners and applied to their products and climate goals.
"Facing the increasing impacts of the climate crisis, this action from the USDA is vital for the future of farming in the U.S. to weather the current and coming storms. This strategic funding offered by USDA allows us and others to innovate in a meaningful way with farmers and bring to the market climate friendly food," said Nicole Rakobitsch, director of sustainability at Organic Valley. "Organic Valley is creating a model approach to reducing carbon emissions, and we believe that model can be replicated across the food sector. As we advance carbon insetting, we will share our learnings and best practices. Ultimately, we are excited to offer consumers the products they are demanding in the marketplace: dairy and eggs with a low carbon footprint."
Up to $2.8 billion in grant funding will be awarded through 70 projects spanning the agricultural industry, as part of the Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities funding opportunity.
About Organic Valley
Organic Valley is passionate about doing what's right for people, animals and earth and is committed to bringing ethically made organic food to families everywhere. Organic Valley is the largest farmer-owned organic cooperative in the U.S. and one of the world's largest organic consumer brands. Founded in 1988 to sustain family farms through organic farming, the cooperative represents nearly 1,800 farmers in 34 U.S. states, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.