On Dec. 12, 2022, USDA announced its investment in 71 projects under the second funding pool of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. This included a grant awarded to the American Lamb Board (ALB) for “Measuring the Climate Benefits and Emissions of Prescribed Sheep Grazing and Promoting the Consumption of Climate-Smart Lamb.”

“People who are likely to be lamb consumers seem inclined to use sustainability factors when making purchase decisions. This issue is moving beyond a trend so it’s time for the American Lamb industry to take more aggressive action,” says ALB Chairman Peter Camino. “We’ve chosen to take this new challenge as an opportunity. We’re working on projects now that should help producers increase productivity and lead to greater sustainability. So, it’s a win-win,” Camino adds.

The ALB grant project plans to measure and report carbon sequestration, soil health and other benefits, and associated ecosystem services provided by prescribed sheep grazing on four different pilot demonstration sites throughout the United States. The grant project also plans to market the resulting climate-smart lamb products. The USDA grant budget is $4.995 million.

ALB understands the importance of sustainability, including the industry’s environmental footprint. This new, multi-year project will complement the checkoff funded research nearing completion at Michigan State University, which is calculating emissions and developing mitigation strategies. “Quantifying the benefits of sheep grazing should bring value to the sheep industry and encourage sheep producers to further implement profitable grazing plans that enhance the environment,” says Camino.

USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities is working to expand markets for American producers who produce climate-smart commodities, leverage greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart production and provide meaningful benefits to producers, including small and underserved producers. USDA received over 1,000 proposals.

Sources: American Lamb Resource Center; American Lamb Board; USDA