Biden-Harris Administration Announces $3 Billion for Climate-Smart Practices on Agricultural Lands
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Agricultural Producers Can Now Apply for Fiscal Year 2024 Conservation Assistance, Highest in History
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making more than $3 billion in funding available for agricultural producers and forest landowners nationwide to participate in voluntary conservation programs and adopt climate-smart practices in fiscal year 2024 as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. The announcement comes as the Biden-Harris Administration hosts the first-ever White House Climate Resilience Summit.
These funds are provided by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act – the largest climate and conservation investment in history. This law invests an additional $19.5 billion for USDA’s popular conservation programs. These programs also advance the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which aims to ensure 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain climate, clean energy, and other federal investments reach disadvantaged communities that have been marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. On the heels of last week’s announcement that USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) saw record producer interest in these resources in fiscal year 2023, the agency is now accepting applications from producers interested in this additional conservation assistance for fiscal year 2024.
“Thanks to President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, we have additional resources to invest in climate-smart practices as we continue to see high demand for these popular conservation programs,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This funding will be used to meet producer demand for our oversubscribed programs and maximize climate benefits across the country while also providing other important environmental benefits. This includes investing in popular common-sense practices such as cover crops, waste and fertilizer management, and grazing practices, while continuing to work through existing programs to help producers address other natural resource challenges. Ultimately, this will lead to economic opportunity for producers, more productive soil, cleaner water and air, healthier wildlife habitat and natural resource conservation for future generations.”
These additional investments are estimated to help hundreds of thousands of farmers and ranchers apply conservation to millions of acres of land. These funds provide direct climate mitigation benefits, advance a host of other environmental co-benefits, and expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land through practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting and more.
USDA is opening up the application period for fiscal year 2024 conservation assistance giving producers the opportunity to apply for this historic funding. However, in the event of a lapse in government funding, technical assistance, one-on-one help in answering questions, and other support for producers in navigating the application process would not be immediately available until the funding lapse ends. In the event of a funding lapse, NRCS would notify producers when staff are available to assist.