Agrilife recieves historic grant, leading inititative for Texas to become climate smart

KBTX News 3 at Six Weekday EXTENDED(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 7:44 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Texas A&M Agrilife has been trusted to help the state of Texas reduce its carbon footprint. The Natural Resource Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has gifted the program their largest competitive grant in Agilife’s history at $65 million.

The money will be going towards their “Climate Smart Initiative.” Principal investigator and Department of Soil & Crop Sciences professor Julie Howe says the project will be used to help reduce the burden of carbon in the atmosphere.

“We’re adding carbon to the soil and reducing how many greenhouse gasses are coming from the atmosphere. Agriculture is one of the sources but they also have the ability to be something that helps reduce that burden to the atmosphere,” said Howe.

The “Climate Smart Initiative” can be broken into three parts. The first part helps farmers adopt practices both financially and technically. The second part will figure out better ways to assess the benefit to the climate from carbon storage and greenhouse gas admissions. The third part is figuring out how to benefit farmers economically.

Department of Soil & Crop Sciences professor Nithya Rajan will also be involved in the project and said state-of-the-art instrumentation will be used in selected sites to measure carbon emissions in the atmosphere and to see if their research is working.

“Our goal is to help producers implement climate-smart practices. At the same time we need to verify if these practices are making an impact or not,” said Rajan.

Director of Agrilife Research Cliff Lamb said this is one of the only grants the U.S.D.A sent out for a project specifically for a single state. Lamb credits the Agrilife team and their research efforts for making this initiative happen.

“What it means is the fact that we can be seen as leaders. In terms of adopting potential practices that not only reduce our impacts on climate but may also have a positive impact on production practices,” said Lamb

The project is estimated to last 5 years and Agrifile will start at the beginning of 2023.