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USDA Paying Farmers to Plant Trees

Source: Lancaster Farming, 10/14/2023

There’s money in trees, a growing number of farmers are finding out, and there are substantial USDA funds available for the ecosystem services they provide.

In September 2022, the federal agency awarded Pasa and other organizations a $55 million USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant. One of the goals is to utilize trees on farms to increase profits and combat climate change through mechanisms such as carbon sequestration. Farmers are finding that trees have other benefits, such as shade, and sometimes fodder, for grazing animals.

“I think people are just really interested in the potential that trees can offer in terms of climate resilience,” said Lindsey Shapiro, Pasa’s Farm Bill point person who also runs a mixed vegetable farm with her husband next to Wild Fox Farm. That, she said, coupled with a viable revenue stream, offered good reason Pasa and Wild Fox Farm were playing that day to a sold-out crowd.

With funding from a combination of grants and assistance from a variety of partners, Wild Fox Farm was able to plant 1,500 hazelnut trees and about 500 black locusts at a total cost to the farm of $1,500.

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