Climate-Smart Beef Grants

Cattle-Related Projects Win $750 Million in USDA Grant Money

Victoria G Myers
By  Victoria G. Myers , Progressive Farmer Senior Editor
Climate pilot projects covered a wide range of commodities, including livestock. (Photo courtesy of Vytelle)

USDA's recent announcement of $2.8 billion in grants for "climate-smart" projects wasn't limited to row crops. Quite a few of the projects chosen for funding were livestock-focused and particular to the beef industry and land used to produce beef.

One project that made the list, receiving a $10 million grant, was the Low Carbon Beef USDA Pilot Project. An industry consortium, led by Low Carbon Beef LLC, is aimed at advancing sustainable beef production.

A member of that consortium, Vytelle, reported that Low Carbon Beef is a certification company that will implement climate-smart methods in beef production, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, expanding climate-smart markets, and generating carbon credit revenue for producers. The program will range over five years, with a goal of reducing GHG emissions from beef production by more than 50% while providing economic premiums for commercial cattle producers.

Kerryann Kocher, CEO of Vytelle, said in a news release that the goal of the mission is to ensure producers can sustainably deliver more protein with fewer inputs for future generations.

"Participating in this industry-led supply chain initiative is groundbreaking and will demonstrate that through the use of technology and genetic selection we can reduce the environmental impact of beef production without sacrificing quality while delivering producer profitability," said Kocher.

Vytelle's participation in the project will include the use of its individual animal performance data capture system and its decision support tools for genetic and management decisions. Vytelle's technology will be installed in cow-calf operations to capture mature cow weights, and in a feedlot to collect individual animal dry matter intake, growth, performance, and behavior data. Lisa Rumsfeld, vice president of strategy and business development for the company, noted that measuring these historically hard-to-capture phenotypes provides meaningful data to quantify enteric emissions and inform the GHG lifecycle assessment at both the ranch and feedlot.

"As an industry we are stronger together," she said. "The opportunity to create this meaningful data and aggregate with the partners will drive more overall value to the project and future developments for climate smart technologies in the marketplace."

In addition to Vytelle and Low Carbon Beef, other major partners in this pilot program include ABS Global, Where Food Comes From Inc., Agspire, Millborn Seeds Inc., Tiffany Cattle Co., Missouri Prime Beef Packers, Alga Biosciences, Elanco Animal Health and Helical Solar Solutions.


USDA's investment of $2.8 billion went to 70 selected projects. The funds granted ranged from $5 million to $100 million. Total for the projects listed below comes to $750 million. These projects (some titles abbreviated) targeted some aspect of the beef industry.

-- The Grass is Greener on the Other Side -- lead partner South Dakota State University, $80 million.

-- Building Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities in South Carolina -- lead partner Clemson University, $70 million.

-- Tyson Foods Climate-Smart Commodities Project -- lead partner Tyson Foods, Inc., $60 million.

-- Expanding Agroforestry Production and Markets -- lead partner The Nature Conservancy, $60 million.

-- Climate-Smart Commodities for Idaho -- lead partner Regents of the University of Idaho, $55 million.

-- Incentivizing Climate-Smart Growing Practices -- lead partner The DeLong Co., Inc., $40 million.

-- Connected Ag Climate-Smart Commodities Pilot Project -- lead partner Farm Journal, Inc., $40 million.

-- Portfolio of Partnerships for Hawaii Climate-Smart Commodities -- lead partner Lynker Corporation, $40 million.

-- Alliance to Catalyze Transition Incentives through Open Networks for Climate-Smart Agriculture -- lead partner The Wolfe's Neck Farm Foundation, $35 million.

-- Growing GRASS & Climate-Smart Value-Added U.S. Commodity Markets -- lead partner American Sustainable Business Institute, Inc., $35 million.

-- Climate-Smart Grasslands -- lead partner The University of Tennessee, $30 million.

-- Producer-Led Collaborative Effort to Fundamentally Transition the U.S. Beef Supply Chain to Carbon Neutral-- lead partner American Farmland Trust, $30 million.

-- Expanding the STAR Program Across Colorado and the West--lead partner Colorado Department of Agriculture, $25 million.

-- Integrated Approach to Scaling-Up Climate-Smart Practices for Crop, Livestock, and Agroforestry Production -- lead partner Curators of the University of Missouri, $25 million.

-- Mid-Atlantic Conservation Innovation Fund Climate-Smart Commodities Project -- lead partner The Conservation Innovation Fund, $25 million.

-- Growing Value for Producers -- lead partner Winrock International Institute for Agriculture Development, $20 million.

-- Building Soil, Building Equity -- lead partner Accelerating Appalachia, $20 million.

-- SmartAgGro Pilot Program -- lead partner Vanguard Consortium, $15 million.

-- Fischer Farms Ultimate Beef Strategy -- lead partner Fischer Farms Natural Foods, $15 million.

-- Building a Regenerative Ranching Economy in the West -- lead partner Sustainable Northwest, $10 million.

-- Sonoma Marin Ag and County Climate Coalition -- lead partner County of Sonoma, $10 million

-- Low Carbon Beef USDA Pilot Project -- lead partner Low Carbon Beef LLC, $10 million.

To see the entire list, go to the USDA website:….

Victoria Myers