BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Virginia Tech has received an $80-million grant from the USDA to develop and implement climate-smart farming practices. The grant is the largest in school history. The program will involve more than four thousand farms in Virginia, North Dakota, Arkansas, and Minnesota.

Farmers could receive direct payments for taking part in the program.

One idea already under consideration is getting farmers to plant winter cover crops after their main crops are harvested. Those cover crops would absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and that would have an impact on warming, and would improve soil and water quality.

Virginia Tech administrators say they are considering at least 25 ideas to put into practice that would be climate-smart and improve farm production.