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Nov. 2 2022 08:04 AM

Included in the Inflation Reduction Act is $40 billion over the next 10 years directed toward existing voluntary programs promoting climate-smart agriculture, rural energy efficiency and reliability, forest conservation, and more. Around half of those dollars will support Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs. The remaining funds will support programs that improve land health, water quality, and the economic stability and climate resilience of farming operations.

For agriculture, funds will be used to streamline nutrient management planning, provide technical assistance for conservation programs, and support a program to quantify carbon sequestration and carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions. More specifically, $8.45 billion will be allocated to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP); $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP); $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); and $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). The Rural Energy for American Program (REAP) will also receive funds to support the generation, storage, and use of renewable energy.

As part of the nutrient management initiative, the USDA will conduct an outreach campaign to highlight the ways nutrient management can contribute to a farm’s bottom line. An estimated 89 million acres of cropland across the country exceed the nitrogen loss threshold, and implementation of nutrient management plans for these acres would result in more efficient use of resources and could save farmers $2.6 billion, along with reducing nutrients that end up in ground and surface waters.

The Biden-Harris Administration made $500 million in grants available through the Fertilizer Production Expansion Program to increase American-made fertilizers. The goal is to spur competition and combat record-high prices. According to the USDA, the grants will be used to support independent, innovative, and sustainable American fertilizer production. The funds will also expand the manufacturing of fertilizer and nutrient alternatives.

This article appeared in the November 2022 issue of Journal of Nutrient Management on page 5.

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