4 Big Ways the Cut Inflation Act is investing in rural America
To fight climate change, the United States is making a historic investment in farmers, ranchers, and rural communities, helping them reduce emissions, prepare for the climate impacts already here, and create good jobs along the way. road.
The Cut Inflation Act will direct about $20 billion toward agricultural conservation programs and nearly $14 billion toward clean energy for rural America.
To stabilize the climate and maintain a safe and vibrant planet, we need to shift to climate-smart agriculture and clean energy. The new legislation will accelerate efforts already underway and launch new ones.
Here are the Inflation Reduction Act’s most impactful climate investments in rural America.
1. Open the door for more farmers to use conservation programs
US Department of Agriculture conservation programs are underfunded and oversubscribed. On average, three farmers wish to participate for each available slot.
With the additional funding from the Inflation Reduction Act, the USDA can open the door wider, allowing more farmers to participate in conservation programs.
These are farmers who already enjoy conservation but need financial or technical assistance to make the transition. The increased funding should enable climate-smart practices to be put on the ground quickly.
Equally important, tackling climate change is now a stated priority for these conservation programs, with guidance in law to prioritize practices that reduce methane and nitrous oxide and help store carbon in floors.
These programs will continue to prioritize other vitally important conservation outcomes like clean water when considering farmers’ applications, but now climate change will also be on the list.
2. Create a solid foundation for the next Farm Bill
The Farm Bill — a gigantic bill that comes around every five years that largely determines what food we eat and how it’s grown — is the biggest single source of funding for conservation on private land. . It is a powerful vehicle for reducing emissions and building resilience to the impacts of climate change nationwide.
The Cut Inflation Act extends funding for conservation programs authorized by the 2018 Farm Bill and makes additional investments in conservation.
This means that funding for critical conservation work is assured, as long as Congress avoids reversing these historic investments. Instead of focusing on preserving the amount of conservation funds available, energy can be directed towards creative ideas for advancing climate-smart agriculture.
Conservation funding from the Cut Inflation Act offers enormous potential for agricultural producers and environmentalists to work together on incentive solutions that are sustainable and equitable.
3. Measure progress to improve future investments in the fight against climate change
The Cut Inflation Act provides $300 million for the USDA’s Office of Energy and Environmental Policy to establish a program to measure the climate impact of conservation programs run by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
These funds can be used to aggregate and analyze existing data or conduct new research to improve measurement, reporting and verification on farms and within regions.
This is the decisive decade to work towards a better climate future. Having dedicated funds to measure progress is hugely important for farmers, ranchers, taxpayers and the climate. Good science and data will ensure that every dollar spent through public or private efforts has maximum impact.
4. Invest in clean rural energy to create jobs and reduce pollution
One of the most important parts of the Reducing Inflation Act — both for rural economies and for climate change — is a $14 billion investment to help rural electric farms and co-ops transition to clean energy.
This will create around 90,000 good jobs in rural communities, which have seen thousands of jobs migrate to cities in recent decades. This will not reverse the trend in itself, but it will kick-start economic revitalization and opportunity. It is also one of the biggest emission reduction opportunities in law and will make rural power grids more reliable and resilient.
The Inflation Reduction Act investments in rural America show that the United States is serious about reducing climate risks and expanding opportunities to be part of the climate solution. Over the coming decades, we will all benefit from less pollution and more resilient economies and food supplies.
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