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Biden-Harris Administration Makes Record Investment in Private Lands Conservation As Part of Investing in America Agenda

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13, 2024 The Biden-Harris Administration today announced that it made record investments in private lands conservation in fiscal year 2023 thanks to historic resources made available by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, the largest investment in climate action in history and a key pillar of the Investing in America agenda. In fiscal year 2023, USDA supported more than 45,000 conservation contracts, more than any year in the 89-year history of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), totaling over $2.8 billion in financial assistance to producers for conservation efforts. NRCS also released updated state-by-state data showing where investments went in FY2023 for resources provided under both the Farm Bill and Inflation Reduction Act.  

“The successes of our first year of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act has set us up well for moving forward in 2024 and beyond,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “Thanks to the President’s Investing in America agenda, NRCS increased the agency’s capacity, streamlined our programs and processes, built partnerships, and expanded opportunities to access new conservation funding while continuing to provide America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners with conservation assistance through the Farm Bill. It’s clear that we’ve done that successfully this past year, and producer demand for this assistance remains strong.”   

The last year showed unprecedented demand for conservation from farmers and ranchers, with applications outpacing available funding. Even with the additional Inflation Reduction Act funding, NRCS had significant unmet producer demand for conservation through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). In addition, NRCS received $2.2 billion in Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposals in fiscal year 2023 but was only able to fund half of the projects.   

A total of $19.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act is available over several years for climate-smart agriculture and forestry mitigation activities, including through NRCS conservation programs – EQIP, ACEP, RCPP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Implementation began in fiscal year 2023, when NRCS made $850 million available in financial and technical assistance through the Inflation Reduction Act. In fiscal year 2024, the second year of implementation, NRCS is making over $3 billion available from the Inflation Reduction Act in addition to the $2 billion in Farm Bill funding. 

Details on program enrollment in fiscal year 2023 are available in a fact sheet, an Inflation Reduction Act Data Visualization Tool and NRCS Financial Assistance Program Data.  

More Information 

To learn more about NRCS programs, producers can contact their local USDA Service Center.  Producers can also apply for NRCS programs, manage conservation plans and contracts, and view and print conservation maps by logging into their farmers.gov account. If you don’t have an account, sign up today.   

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.   

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