Funding Prioritizes Climate Solutions for Agriculture and Includes Key Coalition Priorities
Washington, DC, July 28, 2022 – Yesterday, after months of on-and-off negotiations, Senate leaders announced a proposed deal on legislation aimed at advancing key pieces of President Biden’s agenda, including measures to combat climate change. If passed, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 would, among other things, provide approximately $369.75 billion for energy security and climate change programs over the next ten years.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) welcomes this generational investment in farmers and rural communities. If passed, this legislation could pave the way for a climate-focused 2023 Farm Bill. The package includes much-needed investments to help farmers and ranchers adopt conservation practices to build climate resilience, reduce emissions, and play a central role in our national response to the climate crisis,” said Mike Lavender, NSAC Interim Policy Director.
Specifically, NSAC applauds the $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program and $8.45 billion allocated for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Each of these funding increases for working lands conservation programs includes specific language prioritizing practices that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase climate resilience for farmers. Other investments, such as $1 billion for NRCS Conservation Technical Assistance, $300 million for a carbon sequestration and GHG emissions quantification program at NRCS, and billions for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), further round out a key step forward in reorienting agriculture and USDA programs toward climate resilience.
“Congress is poised to make a once-in-a-generation investment in effective working lands conservation programs – such as CSP, EQIP, and others – that will put farmers at the center of our national response to the climate change crisis,” Lavender added.
Programs like CSP and EQIP offer technical and financial support to farmers to implement conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve soil health. This support can increase a farm’s adaptive capacity in the face of extreme weather events and other climate-related impacts. Working lands conservation programs are severely oversubscribed and already subject to automatic annual reductions under budget sequestration. NSAC has advocated consistently that this shortfall be addressed through earlier iterations of a budget reconciliation package, and we are happy to see that Congress has maintained conservation spending to reduce these impacts.
“NSAC is particularly pleased to see that the bill draws several key climate provisions from the Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA), a bold climate bill which outlines a farmer-focused, research-driven path to net zero agriculture,” Lavender noted.
“This heartening first step toward overdue climate investments at USDA is timely: this week, advocates for sustainable agriculture joined together in a week of action to highlight the impacts that farmers increasingly face from climate change and the solutions needed to mitigate and adapt their practices to build greater resiliency and to bolster the food system. Farmer Climate Story Week, led by NSAC, lifts up these stories and highlights the ARA as an important roadmap for how the next farm bill can effectively address climate change,” Lavender said.
NSAC encourages Congressional leaders to pass the bill immediately with agricultural spending intact to ensure farmers, ranchers, and foresters are best prepared to deal with extreme weather events caused by climate change that increasingly threaten their livelihoods, as well as the stability of our food supply.
This press statement can be found on the NSAC webpage here.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more: https://sustainableagriculture.net/