Through a USDA-funded incentives program, Rodale Institute and its partner organizations are providing financial assistance to eligible farmers in the Southern Piedmont region to promote the adoption of climate-smart practices, advance research, and expand markets for the sale of climate-smart commodities.

Rodale Institute, a U.S.-based global agricultural nonprofit, is partnering with 12 universities, NGOs, and consulting firms as part of the USDA’s effort to expand climate-smart farming practices in the Southeast.

The program will enroll 100 organic and conventional vegetable farmers in the Southern Piedmont region, and 25 farmers markets and market farmers, in an enhanced incentives research campaign designed to gather the necessary data required to evaluate the climate impact of regenerative organic farming practices  and successfully market their climate-smart commodities.

Over $6 million in cash and non-cash incentives will be provided to eligible farmers, market managers, and participating market farmers. Learn More About the Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project.

Climate-Smart Project Summary – Farmer Participation

As part of this project, participating farmers will be asked to put half of the enrolled acreage into a rotation with cover crops. The other half of the enrolled acreage will not utilize cover crops.

Rodale Institute and its partner organizations will perform the following duties:

1.     Monitor the greenhouse gas emissions and soil health benefits across both production systems providing farmers the data needed to capitalize on carbon market programs and understand how they can better steward their lands and communities.

2.     Gather economic data in both cover crop and non-cover crop fields and hold farmer focus groups discussing barriers farmers have in adopting new practices. This will help us provide the USDA with recommendations to support farmers transition to Climate-Smart agriculture.

3.     Provide free technical assistance to participating farmers on the enrolled project acreage.

4.     Hold farmer field days across the Southern Piedmont providing on-farm demonstrations, workshops on climate-smart farming techniques, and discussions of successes and failures implementing new production strategies.

5.     Present findings via webinars, presentations at local farming conferences, factsheets, and other outreach events to help farmers learn alongside us about farming climate-smart in the southeast.

For more information on how to be a participating farmer in the Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Diversified Vegetable Program, click HERE.

Climate-Smart Project Summary – Farmer’s Market Participation

Through partnerships with farmers markets in the Southern Piedmont region, Rodale Institute and its partner organizations will expand markets for climate-smart commodities in the Southeast. We will do this through a marketing campaign that investigates the best strategies for educating consumers about the value-added benefits of purchasing climate-smart commodities.

Information gathered as part of this project will inform the USDA’s recommendations on best practices to support climate-smart markets.

Rodale Institute and its partner organizations will perform the following duties:

1.     Verify and improve an easy-to-use application, Farm2Facts. Farm2Facts will help farmers rate how climate-smart their operations are. The toolkit also creates graphical printouts to help farmers market their commodities.

2.     Embark on a marketing campaign assessing ways to communicate the benefits of purchasing value-added commodities to help us understand how to gain consumer buy-in and improve marketing potential for Climate-Smart commodities in the southeast and beyond.

For details on how to be a participating Farmers Market in the Marketing Program, click HERE.


The Application Portal is NOW OPEN.

Click HERE to access the Farmer Application.
Click HERE to access the Farmers Market Participation Application.
Deadline to apply: September 1st, 2023

Questions about the Southern Piedmont Climate-Smart Project?

For more information, please refer to our FAQ page or contact

Kristie Wendelberger, Climate-Smart Project Director: