Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is traveling this week, promoting the just-signed Inflation Reduction Act. Speaking with farm broadcasters Wednesday, Vilsack outlined the IRA’s investment in rural America, which provides USDA with nearly $40 billion, including $20 billion for climate smart agriculture.
“First of all, it’s going to go into existing programs; programs that farmers are acutely aware of and understand and appreciate. $8.45 billion of increased funding for EQUIP, $3.25 billion of increased funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program, $1.4 billion of increased resources for the agriculture Conservation Easement Program, $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, another billion dollars for Conservation Technical Assistance, $300 million for Conservation Technical Assistance focused on carbon sequestration, and additional resources for staffing at NRCS.”
Beyond conservation, the bill includes funding for biofuels, rural electric cooperatives, and more.
“The bill also provides $500 million to build out the biofuel blender infrastructure necessary to continue to increase the utilization of higher blend biofuels, and also provide additional tax credits to spur the sustainable aviation biofuel industry. There’s a significant investment in rural electric cooperatives. The challenge there is to make sure that rural electric cooperatives have the resources to be able to convert to more renewable sources, this bill provides for $9.7 billion. This also provides additional support for the Renewable Energy for America Program to essentially provide additional grants and loans to 41,500 farms and businesses. So, a tremendous opportunity here, and it doesn’t stop there, an additional $5 billion is going to be invested under the inflation Reduction Act that allows us to continue to do a better job of managing our forests and reducing the risk of wildfire.”
The White House says Inflation Reduction Act will lower health care and energy costs for rural Americans, while addressing climate and lowering the deficit.