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Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country, welcomed an announcement today of a $1 billion federal grant program to incentivize sustainable farming and ranching practices and to increase market opportunities for the resulting products.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the new Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities will finance pilot projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or sequester carbon, and use innovative, science-based ways to measure the benefits. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants ranging from $250,000 to $50 million will be available to a broad range of organizations and traditional agricultural partners chosen through an application process.

“Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative and our farmer members have already committed to more sustainable farming practices,” Edge President Brody Stapel said. “This infusion of money will help build on that work.”

“Edge helps support a number of farmer-led conservation groups and we recognize those efforts are only the beginning,” Stapel said. “Edge and our sister organization, Farmers for Sustainable Food, are also working with dairy processors to develop sustainability projects based on their milksheds, including a pilot project recognized nationally for its supply chain partnerships. This is an ideal way to focus on sustainability in a commodity-specific fashion from production to processing and on to final consumption. We are hopeful the new USDA grants will help to expand efforts like this aimed at both sustainability for the environment and financial viability for the farmer.”