Maine Farmland Trust Awarded Historic Federal Funding to Advance Climate Resilience in Agriculture

Maine Farmland Trust Awarded Historic Federal Funding to Advance Climate Resilience in Agriculture

September 29, 2022


Henry Trotter

Maine Farmland Trust among organizations to receive historic investment advancing climate resilience in agriculture, as one of 80 partners on two projects receiving $90 million over 5 years through the USDA’s Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities program.

Along with dozens of national and regional partners, Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) will be one of the recipients of newly-announced funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities program. Maine Farmland Trust will use the funding to support Maine farms adopting climate-smart practices and grow a robust, resilient, innovative local food system rooted in Maine agriculture.

The USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities program is awarding a grand total of $2.8 billion over 5 years to over 70 projects, each with teams of local, regional, and national collaborators, to increase the knowledge and support available for farmers engaged in and transitioning to climate-smart practices at all scales and production types. As a partner on two projects awarded funding through the program, Maine Farmland Trust is among 80+ partnering organizations nationwide receiving a total of $90 million over the next 5 years.

“This is an unprecedented investment from the federal government in climate-smart agriculture,” said Ellen Griswold, Maine Farmland Trust’s Vice President & Deputy Director. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with so many organizations nationally. Through our combined efforts, we hope to expand the adoption of climate-smart practices and provide support to farms, especially small and underserved producers, and strengthen the market for climate-smart products.”

Maine Farmland Trust will be a partner on two projects, one led by the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment and the other led by Pasa Sustainable Agriculture in Pennsylvania. Wolfe’s Neck is leading an alliance of over 60 buyers, funders, and organizations working to develop open-source technology and a marketplace for climate-smart agriculture, provide technical assistance to farmers, and help launch climate-smart agriculture projects on farms nationwide. Pasa’s project brings together 20 farming and agroforestry organizations nationally to engage farmers in soil health and financial benchmarking, farmer-to-farmer learning, carbon benefits, and other support for expanded implementation of climate-smart practices and efforts to increase market opportunities for farms that use climate-smart practices. As a partner in both projects, Maine Farmland Trust will work directly with Maine farmers to advance these efforts.

“This kind of collaboration and federal funding is sorely needed to address climate change, one of the most important challenges of our time,” said Sarah Simon, Maine Farmland Trust’s Climate Resilience Specialist. MFT’s partnership with the Wolfe’s Neck Center and Pasa developed through their collaboration on the Maine Soil Health Network, a program Simon started in 2021 to engage MFT’s network of protected farms in improving their soil health and climate resilience. “This new support will enable Maine Farmland Trust to expand our work with Maine farmers on soil health benchmarking research, providing technical assistance around new practices and climate adaptation planning, and directing funding to farmers to make investments needed for a climate-smart transition on their farms.”

Key partners on both projects include the Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment, Pasa Sustainable Agriculture, Zero Foodprint, American Farmland Trust, Future Harvest, MOFGA, Point Blue Conservation Science, Oregon Tilth, California Certified Organic Farmer, and Carbon A List, among many other important partners.

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