The initiative is called “Climate-Smart Fiber Hemp: A Versatile Threat Connecting the Nation’s Underserved Farmers, Climate Change Mitigation and Novel Market Opportunities.”
The initiative will evaluate hemp’s greenhouse gas benefits and encourage market development valuation to smaller and underserved producers in Tennessee.
“Tennessee can become the leading producer of hemp in the Southeast United States,” says HAT President Frederick Cawthon. “We are committed to growing this industry responsibly, and we encourage all industries to examine how they can utilize this climate-smart and regenerative raw material.”
Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities
The grant comes from USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program, which is investing more than $1.31 billion in 141 projects.
The focus is on growing markets for American climate-smart commodity producers who provide significant benefits for small and underserved producers.
The program announced $2.8 billion in grants for 70 potential projects from the first funding pool in September.
The grants are for projects between $5 million and $100 million.
The USDA recently announced an additional $325 million for 71 projects in the second funding pool for projects from $250,000-$4,999,999.
The goal is to expand industrial hemp production as a climate-smart commodity and weigh its benefits.
Funding for the initiative in Tennessee has an approximate ceiling of $4,972,800.
The initiative received funding from the second pool, one of only five hemp-related projects to do so.
The USDA says the second pool focused on innovative projects and enrolling small and underserved producers.
One of the pool’s goals was to invest in measuring, monitoring, reporting, and verifying climate-smart practice benefits at minority-serving institutions.
“TDA is pleased to collaborate with TSU, UT, and HAT on initiatives that keep agriculture the number-one industry in Tennessee,” says Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. “We join them in efforts that aid in discovering new uses of industrial hemp and boost farming opportunities in rural areas. Tennessee is eager to increase support of new and existing hemp producers through this USDA grant award.”
In 2022, HAT announced a Tennessee hemp production feasibility study with funding from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.
The University of Tennessee undertook the task of conducting the necessary research.
According to HAT, the study’s findings, which will be available soon, will evaluate the likelihood of Tennessee-based hemp production.