USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities- Verified Regenerative Bison Products

Expand markets for climate-Smart Bison in Oklahoma and Tribal areas and supports farmer and rancher implementation and monitoring of climate-smart practices.

Last updated Mar 14, 2024
USDA Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities- Verified Regenerative Bison Products


The Climate-Smart Markets for Verified Regenerative Bison Products is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities grant program.  The USDA has awarded the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes with a grant of approximately $ 7.0 million over a four-year period.  This project will expand markets for climate-smart bison in Oklahoma and other tribal areas and supports farmer and rancher implementation and monitoring of climate-smart practices.

USDA is committed to supporting a diverse range of farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners through Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities. This effort will expand markets for America’s climate-smart commodities, leverage the greenhouse gas benefits of climate-smart commodity production, and provide direct, meaningful benefits to production agriculture, including for small and underserved producers.

USDA has invested more than $3.1 billion for 141 projects through this effort and all the projects require meaningful involvement of small and underserved producers.

In this project, we will:

Develop a demonstration program on tribal lands, implementing and expanding multiple climate-smart practices in the production of American bison. This program will showcase the benefits of regenerative bison production to rangeland, ranchers, and climate. It will increase climate resilience of ranching operations, reduce net greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, and direct the financial benefits of climate-smart commodity production to ranchers, including tribal groups and early adopters.

Leverage this demonstration program, as well as the recent history of tribal bison reintroduction programs around the country, to rigorously quantify the climate impacts of regenerative bison production in comparison with the baseline of conventional beef production. In this quantification, we will also trial streamlined processes—based on remote sensing and automation of soil-carbon measurement—to reduce monitoring costs for future adopters.

Create a new entity to maintain standards of regenerative bison production, track climate benefits and payment for those benefits through the supply chain, establish consumer trust in and appreciation for the multiple benefits of Verified Regenerative Bison Products, and thus foster a market-driven expansion of the practices demonstrated and studied in this program.


While there is evidence in the scientific literature for the climate-related benefits of regenerative bison production, the industry is nascent. Consequently, better data informing USDA Comet for grazing practices with American bison are needed; ranchers cannot yet benefit from a significant price premium tied to the carbon-sequestration potential of regenerative grazing with bison; and ranchers do not yet have the practical guidance or financial incentives needed to transition to this culturally and ecologically important species. This project will address all three of these important unmet needs.

This project minimizes costs associated with activities in several ways. First, rather than building whole new systems for tracing the benefits of our climate-smart commodity, we will build on well-established practices for verification and tracking chain of custody, expanding and adapting them to apply to regenerative bison and to incorporate data on ghg emissions and other ecosystem services. Second, in the course of this project, we will move from the most thorough ‘gold-standard’ of measuring ecological impacts, including ghg emissions, to more efficient and scalable methods based on remote sensing, machine learning, and automation. Third, we will leverage the open-science ecosystem supported by Collaborative Earth, greatly reducing overhead and expense associated with research in traditional University contexts.

Fittingly, our demonstration program will be located on the site of two schools that were established in the 19th century to teach Cheyenne and Arapaho children. In the project described here, the Cheyenne and Arapaho, along with the other tribal nations and other tribal members of the ITBC, will furnish an educational and compelling case of tribal development of ranching practices to restore thriving grassland ecosystems, enhance their resilience, and mitigate climate change. These practices are centered around American bison, a species of ancient spiritual importance to the plains tribes of North America. This project thus represents a new kind of school, offering a synthesis of deep traditions with advanced technologies to develop and demonstrate the benefits of a climate-smart commodity, Verified Regenerative Bison Products.


Forms and Files

Form Name
Fill online
No items found.


Department of Business
(405) 422-7417
(405) 422-7417