by Todd Janzer as it appeared in Farm Equipment magazine

The USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities program represents an investment of over $3.1 billion into US agriculture.

The statistics for the program huge: USDA selected 141 proposals from corporations, non-profits, and universities to study ways to increase climate-smart production practices for US farmers and livestock producers. USDA estimates that over the next 5 years more than 60 million tons of carbon dioxide will be sequestered as a result of the program. You can learn more about specific programs on the USDA’s .

But what I am most interested in is USDA’s collection of production data from US farms and fields through Climate-Smart Commodities.

USDA is no stranger to data collection. The National Agriculture Statistic Service (NASS) has collected farm census data for decades. Similarly, Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) have long collected data about US farmers and ranchers for farm programs and crop insurance purposes. This data has remained siloed as USDA and is general in nature. Data collection through Climate-Smart Commodities is going to be much more granular.

Any grant recipient who receives funds from USDA through the Climate-Smart Commodities program is required to submit data to USDA regarding use of the grant. USDA has published “Data Dictionary” that explains the data collection that is required. In general, there are four levels of data collection from the most general to the most specific:

Project Level: This is information about the project at the aggregate level.

Partner Level: This is information about the activities of grant awardee within a project.

Producer Level: This is information about the farms selected by the grant awardee who are enrolled in a specific award-funded project.

Field Level: This is information from specific fields where a project is administered.

The Data Dictionary further defines the subcategories of data that needs to be collected by grant awardees (and sub-awardees) at each level. For example, at the Field Level, the grant recipient should collect data with the following: (1) Tract ID; (2) Field ID; (3) State; (4) County; (5) Total Field Area; (6) Commodity category; (7) Commodity type; (8) Baseline yield; (9) Field land use; (10) Field irrigated; (11) Field tillage; (12) Practice past extent ‐ farm; etc. (These are not an exhaustive list; consult the Data Dictionary for more).

To read the entire report click here.