Organic Association of Kentucky selected to receive $4.4 million to increase climate-friendly practices among farmers 


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Feb. 1, 2023) - - - The Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) has been tentatively selected to receive more than $4.4 million to help hundreds of Kentucky farmers learn about and adopt climate-smart practices to improve soil health and water quality, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and promote wildlife habitat.  


“Climate-smart practices have long been a part of organic farming,” said OAK executive director Brooke Gentile. “A significant portion of the funds will be distributed directly to farmers to implement and maintain practices that improve soil health and will support on-farm technical assistance. Climate-smart practices including cover cropping, reduced tillage, rotational grazing, agroforestry and others will be incentivized.” 


Historically underserved farmers – including limited-resource, beginning, socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers – will make up a large portion of the beneficiaries, and many more will be operators of “small farms,” with gross annual farm income under $250,000. The project and partners will encourage emerging markets for Kentucky crops and livestock grown and raised using climate-smart methods.


The award is part of Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $3.1 billion grant program aimed at expanding markets for America’s climate-smart commodities and providing direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers. 


OAK anticipates a Summer 2023 launch for this new program. To learn more or to participate sign up for information through OAK's website at the button below or connect with us at [email protected] or (502) 219-7378.


Climate Smart Project Updates


About OAK

The Organic Association of Kentucky (OAK) works with all farmers to advance organic regenerative agricultural practices and to improve the health of the environment and our communities. OAK works to enhance ecological resilience, economic viability, and socially just futures for Kentucky farmers through educational, technical, and market resources. We believe that organic farming practices improve environmental resilience and conservation, nurture human, and community health and are a powerful driver of regional prosperity.  For more information, visit


Farm Sustainability Assessment, Soil Health, Technical Assistance and Incentives for Best Practices  

OAK is currently working on a US adaptation of the Global Farm Metric (GFM) framework and resulting Farm Sustainability Assessment Tool (FSAT), created by the Sustainable Food TrustThe GFM framework measures social, economic and environmental indicators on farms to assess sustainability across 12 categories.

Based on globally recognized research, OAK staff are adapting this tool by embedding it with measures, benchmark scoring and practices from USDA NRCS, including alignment with COMET-Farm, Environmental Impact Quotient and NRCS Practice Standards for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Carbon Sequestration. The GFM-FSAT establishes a common language, supported by quantitative measures, that enables all stakeholders in food and farming to drive positive change.

On December 12, 2022, this project was awarded a USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities grant to expand this tool and services for Kentucky farmers. Over the next 5 years OAK will work with partners to offer farmer education programs, on-farm technical assistance to farmers using the GFM-FSAT and incentive payments for implemented practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil health. The project also works with a value chain partners to develop and expand market opportunities for climate verified foods and products.


Additional details to come on this new program in Summer 2023. If you would like to receive updates about the Organic Association of Kentucky — including its USDA Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities project — please subscribe to our newsletter. For media inquiries, contact Brooke Gentile at [email protected] or (502) 219-7378.

 Global Farm Metric 11 categories and their sub-categories