How to participate in the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program

Posted May 29 2024
an African American farmer holding a tablet outside a water tower

Central State University, in partnership with Ohio State University, has been awarded a $5 million grant over five years from the United States Department of Agriculture for the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program. 

The partnership award aims to build markets for climate-smart commodities and invest in America’s producers to strengthen U.S. rural and agricultural communities.

Led by Central State University (CSU), the program utilizes manure as a natural fertilizer and seeks the participation of farmers who will integrate climate-smart agriculture practices for the production of vegetables from the fall of 2024 through 2028. Urban and rural farmers are encouraged to be part of the project. 

The objective is to measure, quantify, and verify the carbon and greenhouse (GHG) benefits associated with these practices and determine the produce's marketing and economic viability. Farmers who want to learn more about participating can complete an interest form.

Who can participate in the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program?

Participants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a member of a socially disadvantaged or veteran farming group.
  • A legal entity or joint operation can be a veteran farmer or rancher only if all individual members independently qualify.

Socially disadvantaged groups consist of the following:

  • American Indians or Alaskan Natives
  • Asians
  • Blacks or African Americans
  • Native Hawaiians or other Pacific Islanders
  • Hispanics

For an entity, at least 50% ownership in the farm business must be held by socially disadvantaged individuals.

Sign Up

Requirements for participants

  • Provide at least 3,000 sq. ft. of plot space for four years, including one plot for manure-applied fertilizer and one plot for conventional fertilizer.
  • Register the farm, if not already done, with the USDA Farm Service Agency to obtain a farm identification number.
  • Historical records for the plot areas for two growing years prior to the grant.

During the grant period, both plots will be no tilled, cover cropped, and drip irrigated.

Farmer incentives

Participating farmers will receive the following incentives:

  • Inputs for growing identified vegetable crops (estimated at $3,437.63 per acre). For example, 3,000 sq. ft. would equate to $236.75. This includes seeds/seedlings for three crops during the growing season, lime, conventional fertilizer, manure-based fertilizer, organic pest and plant disease management products, drip irrigation, mulch, and cover crop seeds.
  • Expertise from Central State University Extension for crop production and management.

Farmers who want to learn more about participating can complete an interest form at

For more information or questions about the project, contact Dr. Ibrahim Katampe at or Dr. Cindy Folck at

Submit Interest Form