American Sustainable Business Network and Partners Awarded $35 Million in Historic Climate Investment Package from USDA

Media Release

American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN), a movement builder organization committed to inform, connect, and mobilize the business and investor community toward a just, regenerative and sustainable economy, was awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of $35 million as part of the Department’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative.

The multi-million dollar investment allows the American Sustainable Business Institute -– the 501(C)3 entity of ASBN — its primary partner, Other Half Processing (OHP), and a diverse set of collaborators to implement the Growing GRASS & Climate-Smart Value-Added U.S. Commodity Markets Project (Growing GRASS Project). 

The Growing GRASS Project will enable U.S. producers and supply chain partners to optimize value from regeneratively raised livestock through lowered costs of verification and market access, increased value-added opportunities that more fully utilize the whole animal, and incentives for climate-smart grazing systems that reduce costs, increase resiliency, and deliver environmental and climate benefits.  

“ASBN applauds the Biden-Harris Administration and the USDA for the creation of the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program — a major step forward for our nation’s farming and ranching community,” said David Levine, president and co-founder at ASBN.“ The award will contribute to our collaborative work with farmers and ranchers, further proving that we can increase productivity and grow our economy as we address climate issues.” 

Funds awarded by the USDA will center the ongoing work and lived experiences of producers most impacted by climate. Through the Growing GRASS Project, ASBN, OHP and collaborators will ensure producers have the financial support and market opportunities necessary to implement and sustain climate-smart agricultural practices. 

“Our farmers, ranchers, producers, and forest and land owners know all too well the challenge and the destructive nature of a changing climate,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack when speaking about the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative. “With the right approach and tools, they know America’s farms, fields and forests can be — and ought to be — an integral part of the climate solution.” 

The Generalized Regenerative Sourcing Specification (GRASS) was originally created by OHP and Timberland, a VF Company, as a regenerative sourcing verification system for the hide and leather markets.  Supported initially with seed funding from the VF Foundation and Applegate, much of the project work and funding is dedicated to reducing barriers to market access and providing technical and financial assistance directly to farmers and ranchers — especially those from historically disadvantaged producer communities and groups.   

“We are thrilled by USDA’s support for our efforts to validate, value and retain the climate-smart benefits of regeneratively raised livestock in the meat, leather and byproduct markets,” said Jim Kleinschmit, CEO and co-founder of OHP and project lead for the Growing GRASS Project. “This funding gives the GRASS marketspace the ability to support greater total valuation of regeneratively raised livestock and grazing systems in ways that increase market confidence, reduce waste and share the financial benefits through the full supply chain — starting with farmers and ranchers.”

Partners, supporters and participants in the Growing GRASS Project include farmers, ranchers, meat and byproduct processors, retail meat, ingredient and apparel companies, researchers, and certification and technical assistance organizations. ASBN and OHP thanks these groups for their support and for helping lead the effort to mitigate the consequences of a changing climate. Their contributions will be critical to strengthen the national economy, address growing climate concerns, and ensure America remains a food secure nation. 

To see the full list of partners and supporters who made this grant possible, visit www.asbnetwork.org/usda. For more information on ASBN or to become a member, visit www.asbnetwork.org. To learn more about OHP, visit www.otherhalfprocessing.com. To receive the latest on key social and environmental legislation impacting the economy, follow ASBN on Twitter at @theASBN.

About Other Half Processing 

Other Half Processing SBC (OHP) is a Minnesota Specific Benefit Corporation with a mission to create high value and high quality products in ways that are ethical and respectful to the animal, and support regenerative farmers, ranchers and agricultural systems. OHP developed and leads GRASS as part of its work with producers, processors, meat companies, and brands aimed at optimizing the value and use in the marketplace of traceable byproducts from verified regeneratively raised livestock. 

American Sustainable Business Network (ASBN) is a movement builder in partnership with the business and investor community. ASBN develops and advocates solutions for policymakers, business leaders, and investors that support an equitable, regenerative, and just economy that benefits all⁠ – people and planet. As a multi-issue, membership organization advocating on behalf of every business sector, size, and geography, ASBN and its association members collectively represent over 250,000 businesses across our networks. ASBN was founded through the merger of the American Sustainable Business Council and Social Venture Circle.