USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service will spend $8 million for carbon measurement and monitoring on agricultural lands through partnerships with four institutions.

The agency is teaming up on these projects with Iowa State University, Michigan State University, the University of Texas at El Paso and American Climate Partners, a nonprofit based in the mid-Atlantic region. The organizations will each implement a conservation evaluation and monitoring activity for measuring soil organic carbon levels before and after farmers' implement conservation practices, the agency said Thursday.

"Healthy soils are a powerful tool when it comes to sequestering carbon," said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. "These partners will enhance our measurement tools and eventually become part of our program delivery to advance quantification of the effects that climate-smart agricultural practices have on carbon sequestration."

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Iowa State received $1.99 million, Michigan State was awarded $1.9 million, American Climate Partners got $2 million, and the University of Texas at El Paso received $2 million. All the funding is going towards four-year projects. 

NRCS said the projects will seek to "reach equity in program delivery" by encouraging participation by a diverse group of producers, particularly in underserved communities.

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