About the Climate Beneficial Fiber Partnership

Sheep grazing and picking cotton

Six Partners Supporting Climate Beneficial Fiber

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and its five Climate Beneficial Fiber project partners—Carbon Cycle Institute, Colorado State University, Fibershed, New York Textile Lab, and Seed2Shirt are supporting the expansion of climate-smart wool and cotton production on at least 100 farms and ranches spread across 2 million acres in 9 states.

What We Are Investing

More than $18 million will be invested directly with wool producers in California, Montana, New York, South Dakota, and Wyoming and cotton producers in California, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee to adopt practices with quantifiable greenhouse gas benefits. (See map below.) The project aims to meet the equity goals of the Justice40 Initiative and will prioritize engagement with historically underserved producers. 

Funding for this partnership comes from USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program. 

Why Fiber?

Growing concerns about textile-derived microplastics, land-use impacts, and human rights have prompted an industry-wide shift to seek natural fiber sources with verified benefits to land and climate. This program aims to promote healthy soils and benefit the climate while simultaneously driving greater market investment in wool and cotton products that are grown using sustainable agriculture practices. 

How We Help Farmers and Ranchers

Through a process known as Carbon Farm Planning, participating farms and ranches will work with Planners in the field to create a tailored conservation plan that identifies opportunities to achieve farm and ranch goals while simultaneously boosting the carbon cycle as the principal energy pathway driving agricultural productivity. Participants will then receive technical assistance and fixed cost-share incentive payments to support adoption of select conservation practices in their Plan. The Climate Beneficial Fiber Partnership will make payments generally following the standard EQIP 75% cost share state rate and the enhanced 90% cost share state rate for eligible producers/practices.

Steps in the Application and Implementation Process

This project is not affiliated with any carbon market and does not issue or verify carbon credits. For further questions, please reach out to fiberpartnership@ncat.org  

Climate and Agroecosystem Impacts

 The 20-year greenhouse gas impact of practices implemented on enrolled lands during the 5-year grant period is projected to be 3 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Other benefits will include reduction in synthetic fertilizers, improved soil health and increased soil organic matter, and enhanced resilience to changing climate conditions. Farms and ranches that focus on increasing soil carbon see a variety of benefits, such as: 

  • Resilience to climate stressors such as drought, flooding, and extreme heat 
  • Increase soil microbial activity, which improves nutrient cycling
  • Reduced need for synthetic fertilizer
  • Better water availability and water quality
  • Increased pollinator and wildlife habitat

Building Fiber Markets 

In addition to supporting on-the-ground adoption of climate benefitting agricultural practices, another goal of this project is to create a self-sustaining consumer market and regional manufacturing systems that reward cotton and wool producers with price premiums for products that create social and environmental value.

This collaboration builds on Fibershed’s Climate Beneficial Verification program, an established, market-proven system for sequestering carbon, regenerating soil health and resilience, improving social equity, and bolstering America’s ability to produce fiber. 

Climate Beneficial Fiber map