‘Horizon II’ Pilot Project to Demonstrate How Farmers Get Environmental Credit Compensation and Renewable Energy Revenue by Planting Prairie Grasses and Cover Crops

A partnership of 13 public and private entities led by Roeslein Alternative Energy (RAE) finalized a grant from the federal government’s U.S.D.A’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. The funding will be used in a five-year pilot project in Iowa and Missouri called ‘Horizon II’ to demonstrate a “Climate-Smart Future for Corn, Soybean, Livestock, and Renewable Natural Gas Production.”

The Horizon II project will enhance climate-smart markets, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve carbon sequestration in the production of corn, soybean, pork, and beef commodities. Horizon II will also create new opportunities for small and underserved producers while benefiting soil health, clean water, flood control, and habitats for native wildlife.


The grant award is a major step toward advancing RAE’s core mission to develop a market-based solution that puts an economic value on restored native grasses, prairie plants, and winter-hardy cover crops by using sustainably harvested biomass to create renewable natural gas.

“Since founding RAE, our overarching goal has been to provide farmers an alternative way to use land, especially highly erodible acres, in ways that will benefit the environment, wildlife, and their own livelihood,” said Rudi Roeslein, RAE Founder and CEO. “This funding will propel Horizon II forward more rapidly than otherwise would have been possible. We will show how farmers and landowners can do well for themselves while also providing ecological services and wildlife benefits.”


A pilot will be developed, deployed, and verified in Iowa and Missouri, where much of the nation’s corn, soybeans, and pork are produced. Horizon II seeks to incentivize improved management of nitrogen fertilizer and other inputs on agricultural land, which is critical to the success of climate-smart practices.

  • Farmers, livestock producers, and landowners will be compensated for GHG reductions and carbon sequestration in the soil through an outcomes-based carbon credit program.
  • Producing winter-hardy cover crops and grassland restoration will be further incentivized through a novel, market-based program that supports renewable natural gas (RNG) production through the anaerobic digestion of herbaceous biomass combined with manure.
  • This renewable energy can be fed into the national grid and become part of the sustainable new value chain.
  • Program partners will collaborate with farmers, livestock producers, landowners, and other stakeholders, including early adopters of practices and historically underserved producers, to ensure equitable access to the opportunities offered by the low-carbon agriculture of the future.


Partner organizations involved in the RAE Horizon II project are: Conservation Districts of IowaIowa Agriculture Water AllianceIowa Soybean AssociationIowa State UniversityMissouri Prairie Foundation, Sievers Family Farms, Soil and Water Outcomes Fund, Smithfield FoodsThe Nature ConservancyUniversity of MissouriVerdesianUniversity of California-Davis, and Veterans in Agriculture.

Interested in Submitting a Bid?

There may be a variety of Requests for Proposals currently open. We invite you to review the full list to determine if an opportunity is a right fit for your business.


More information coming soon on how to sign up for available programs. Please contact us here with any questions.