WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) have announced that $4,795,300 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program will go towards a West Virginia University (WVU) livestock systems management project.

The project is meant to promote “climate-smart practices, as well as strengthen marketing initiatives for grass-fed beef products” in Appalachia’s agricultural producers, according to a release from the office of Joe Manchin.

“West Virginia’s farmers, ranchers and rural development professionals play a critical role in our state’s economy and provide nutritious, locally grown food for their communities. I’m pleased USDA is investing in this critical project with WVU and their partners to support our farmers and agricultural producers as they adopt more climate-friendly practices, and I look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this funding for years to come,” said Senator Manchin.

The project initiatives will include “land management plans, prescribed grazing, bale grazing, native grass and silvopasture establishment, incorporation of legumes and non-leguminous forbs and use of traditional and novel soil amendments,” the release stated.

“Farmers and agricultural producers are important contributors to West Virginia’s economy, and this grant funding from USDA provides resources for them to succeed today and in the future,” Senator Capito said.

Joining WVU in this project are Virginia Tech, Virginia State University, West Virginia State University, the West Virginia Conservation Agency, the Soil and Water Conservation Division of Virginia’s Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Hickory Nut Gap.

“Livestock production systems in West Virginia rely heavily on our ability to grow and harvest forages on our challenging mountainous topography. Increasing the capacity of farmers to better manage the forage resources in their fields, as we deal with a changing climate, will ensure a move toward more sustainable and profitable operations in the state,” said Ronnie Helmondollar, agriculture and natural resources extension unit director, WVU Extension.