Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced funding availability for agricultural producers and forest landowners to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices. In addition, the Inflation Reduction Act provides an additional $19.5 billion over five years for climate-smart agriculture through several conservation programs that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service implements.
NRCS is making available $850 million in the fiscal year 2023 for its oversubscribed conservation programs: the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
The IRA funding includes an additional $8.45 billion for EQIP, $4.95 billion for RCPP, $3.25 billion for CSP, and $1.4 billion for ACEP. These other investments are estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land.
The IRA provides $300 million to quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gases (GHG) by collecting and using field-based data to assess conservation outcomes. These funds will provide direct climate mitigation benefits and expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farms, ranch, or forest land.
NRCS is working to support Department-wide work on Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting, and Verification (MMRV) to quantify the benefits of these investments. USDA will also help other environmental co-benefits, including water conservation, wildlife habitat improvements, and reducing runoff in administering the Inflation Reduction Act climate investments.
This funding availability is a significant opportunity for agricultural producers and forest landowners to adopt climate-smart practices and participate in voluntary conservation programs. It has the potential to promote sustainable agriculture, protect our environment, and mitigate climate change.