AUSTIN — Texas A&M AgriLife Research is awaiting what will be the organization’s largest competitive grant to date, it announced Friday.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research, an agricultural and life sciences research agency, will be awarded a federal grant up to $65 million to help it complete a five-year, multi-commodity project that will expand climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices within the state, it said.
“We are proud to lead this major effort,” Chancellor John Sharp said in a statement. “The diversity of Texas’ climates, soils and agriculture allows a carefully crafted Texas Climate-Smart Initiative to serve as a model for future climate-smart programs nationwide.”
Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it is investing up to $2.8 billion across 70 selected climate-smart agricultural projects nationwide. CSA is an approach to transform agri-food systems toward green and climate-resilient practices, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Federal officials said the projects will expand markets for climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.
The Texas Climate-Smart Initiative will focus on cotton, wheat, sorghum, corn, rice, vegetables, livestock, dairy, forest products, citrus, pecan, olive, grapes and hemp, federal officials said.
AgriLife Research said it will partner with several other organizations including Texas Soil and Water Conservation Board, the Texas Small Farmers and Ranchers Organization and dozens of others to complete the work.
“Production agriculture is the backbone of the Texas economy,” said Jeffrey W. Savell, vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences at Texas A&M. “This grant proves that when we assemble a team of expert researchers and leaders, while simultaneously staying focused on being responsive to the needs of Texas and key priority areas, that real magic can happen. We’re proud to be creating meaningful solutions for the people of Texas.”
Texas is also expected to receive benefits from partnership projects conducted by other organizations and universities nationwide.
Texas A&M AgriLife Research will also work as a major contributor to four other partnership projects totaling $185 million that focus on cotton, beef and bison production, and sorghum systems, AgriLife officials said.
“Sustainable production systems that strengthen economies and bolster human health are cornerstone priorities for our research enterprise,” AgriLife Research Director Cliff Lamb said in a statement.