WASHINGTON – Today, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum (CRES Forum) published an issue brief outlining critical policy updates to improve conservation programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in anticipation of the upcoming Farm Bill. The brief makes recommendations for lawmakers to cut regulatory red tape put in place by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and make it easier for America’s farmers, ranchers, and land managers to access funding, implement climate-smart practices, and lower global emissions.
“The United States agricultural sector leads the rest of the world in the production of low-carbon commodities thanks to our nation’s hardworking farmers who implement proven practices to conserve agricultural lands and reduce emissions,” said CRES President Heather Reams. “The next Farm Bill should clear the bureaucratic hurdles created by the Inflation Reduction Act to ensure farmers, ranchers, and land managers are rewarded for bettering our planet through adoption of innovative technologies and techniques – not punished with overburdensome regulations and requirements.”
Although the USDA’s conservation programs are typically funded by the Farm Bill, the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) created greenhouse gas reporting requirements for farmers relying on programs offered by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
To continue supporting farmers who engage in conservation practices, the Farm Bill should:
- Remove the IRA conditions that mandate emissions reductions for NRSC programs and reinstitute conditions from the 2018 Farm Bill;
- Incentivize established conservation practices that reduce emissions rather than mandating emissions reductions; and
- Redirect funds from the IRA’s technical assistance program to support the adoption of innovation equipment and techniques by farmers through pilot programs and public-private partnership.
To learn more about the importance of conservation programs and CRES Forum’s policy recommendations for the Farm Bill, click HERE.