Frequently Asked Questions

1.What organizations are involved in leading this project? 

2. Where is the funding coming from?  

3. What is the length of this funding? 

  • This project is currently funded for 5 years: April 2023 – March 2028. 

4. What states and commodities are eligible to receive funding for this project?  

  • Woolgrowers in California, Montana, New York, South Dakota, and Wyoming. 
  • Cotton producers in California, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, and Tennessee 

5. Is there a deadline for applications? 

  • Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but this will be a competitive process and funding is limited. We recommend getting your application in as soon as possible. Please reach out to us at if you have any questions. 

6. What is the application process? 

  • We invite you to fill out our interest form.
  • From there, a regional representative will reach out with a prescreen and application form to determine your eligibility.  
  • If you’re accepted into the program, you’ll enter into an agreement outlining the terms and benefits to begin working with a regional technical assistance team. 

1.What is a Carbon Farm Plan? 

Developed by Carbon Cycle Institute in 2014, Carbon Farm Planning offers farmers and ranchers tailored conservation practice planning and implementation technical assistance to boost the carbon cycle as the principal energy pathway in agricultural systems. It is a comprehensive, whole-farm planning framework that follows the NRCS conservation planning process.  

Agroecosystems with enhanced carbon energy pathways are positively correlated with a variety of ecological benefits, including but not limited to: 

  • Soil water holding capacity and hydrological function 
  • Soil microbial activity and fertility
  • Resilience to environmental stress such as drought and flood
  • Pollinator and wildlife biodiversity
  • Greenhouse gas mitigation
  • Improved agricultural productivity

2. How are greenhouse gas benefits being quantified?  

  • We use the COMET-Planner, developed by Colorado State University in conjunction with the USDA. 

3. What is a climate-smart commodity?  

  • As defined by the USDA, climate-smart commodities are produced using agricultural (farming, ranching, or forestry) practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon. 

4. What makes a conservation practice “Climate-Smart”?  

  • Based on a review of the latest research, NRCS updates and maintains a list of conservation practices that have a scientifically proven greenhouse gas benefit. Our project offers incentive payments for over 40 of these practices.  

Link to Applicable NRCS Practices

1.What are the producer eligibility criteria for participation in this program? 

To participate in this USDA-funded Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities project and receive federal program benefits, a producer must: 

  • Certify that you are not a foreign entity. 
  • Demonstrate that you are in control of the land, whether through ownership or a lease agreement. 
  • Have an FSA-issued Farm ID. If you do not have a Farm ID, we will work with you to establish FSA farm records within 3 months of preliminary acceptance into the program. 
  • Annually certify compliance with USDA’s requirements for Highly Erodible Land Conservation / Wetland Conservation. 

In addition, a producer must be willing to work collaboratively with our technical assistance providers to write a Carbon Farm Plan and implement climate-smart conservation practices from that Plan. 

2. Will USDA claim ownership of the greenhouse gas and carbon sequestration benefits generated through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodity projects? 

  • USDA will not claim ownership of the quantifiable climate benefits generated through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities projects.  


1.How will this project determine reimbursement rates for implementation conservation practices?  

This project will generally follow the NRCS state reimbursement rates for all practices fundable by this project.  

Year 1:  

  • Standard Reimbursement: the 75% EQIP cost share rate.
  • Historically Underserved Groups: the 90% EQIP cost share rate. 
  • State-Specific Priority Conservation Practices: the 90% EQIP cost share rate. 

2. Will there be any upfront payments for producer implementation of practices?

In some cases, our program may offer a partial upfront payment to support implementation of climate-smart conservation practices under this program. Please contact or your regional specialist to learn more.  

3. Is there a Participation Incentive Stipend? 

Yes, farmers accepted into this program will be directly provided with a “Carbon Farm Planning Participant Incentive Stipend” as an added incentive to participate in and complete their Carbon Farm Planning process. The Stipend will be paid out in 2 installments: half upon initiation of the Carbon Farm Planning process and the remaining half at the completion of a written Carbon Farm Plan. The Stipend payment amount for participant farmers in each region is:  

  • Northern Great Plains (MT/SD/WY):  $2,000 Per Producer 
  • Southeast (IN/GA/TN/NC): $2,000 Per Producer  
  • New York: $2,000 Per Producer  
  • California: $2,500 Per Producer  

4. Is there a fund for producers who are interested in growing cotton, but aren’t currently? 

Yes. Limited funding is available on a case-by-case basis to support Historically Underserved Farmers in our Southeast region who are not already growing cotton and want to begin growing it with Climate-Smart farming practices.