Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeIndustry NewsNEW POLL: Voters want permanent funding for climate-smart conservation programs in Farm...

NEW POLL: Voters want permanent funding for climate-smart conservation programs in Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, DC (May 22, 2024) – A new poll of voters across 10 agriculture-heavy states shows that Americans overwhelmingly want Congress to protect $20 billion in conservation funding originally authorized by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and ensure those funds remain dedicated to climate-smart practices in the upcoming Farm Bill.

The poll — which surveyed 2,236 likely voters across Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa, Colorado, South Dakota, Michigan, Montana, and Wisconsin — also revealed that voters are significantly less likely to vote for members of Congress in November if they decrease conservation funding or remove climate-smart requirements in the Farm Bill.

Commissioned by Invest in Our Land and conducted by Embold Research, the survey shows that:

  • 7 in 10 voters support the IRA’s investment in climate-smart conservation funding. Seventy percent of respondents indicated that they support the IRA’s $20 billion investment in agricultural conservation programs to help America’s farmers and ranchers “build resilience in the face of increasingly extreme weather driven by our changing climate.” By contrast, only 18% opposed this investment. This strong support spans the partisan divide, including 88% of Democrats, 61% of Independents, and even 57% of Republicans.
  • By a 2-to-1 margin, voters prefer that IRA dollars be directed to climate-smart conservation practices. A majority of respondents (52%) indicated that they would prefer to direct IRA funding toward conservation practices that are more effective in building resilience to extreme weather and reducing carbon emissions. By contrast, only 25% said they would prefer to direct the funding toward any conservation practice, regardless of its effectiveness in building resilience to extreme weather and reducing carbon emissions.
  • Voters oppose removing climate-smart requirements from IRA conservation funding by a double-digit margin. Nearly half of all voters (47%) said they would oppose congressional efforts to remove the requirement that the $20 billion in IRA conservation funding be directed only toward conservation practices that have proven to be more effective in building farms’ resilience to extreme weather and reducing carbon emissions (the so-called “climate guardrails”), while only one-third (33%) said they would support such an action — representing a 14-point margin in favor of keeping the dollars dedicated to climate-smart conservation. Those opposed to Congress taking such an action included a majority of Democrats (56%), as well as pluralities of Independents (44%) and Republicans (41%).
  • Voters are less likely to vote for representatives who remove climate-smart requirements for IRA conservation funding in the Farm Bill — by a greater than 2-to-1 margin. A plurality of respondents (43%) said they would be less likely to vote for a representative in the next election who had voted to remove the current requirement that IRA conservation funding be directed toward practices that have proven to be more effective in building farms’ resilience to extreme weather and reducing carbon emissions. A majority of Democrats (55%) and a plurality of Independents (44%) indicated that they would be less likely to vote for such a representative, while nearly a third of Republicans (32%) said the same. On the other hand, only 19% said that voting to remove the climate-smart requirement would make them more likely to vote for a representative, while an additional 19% said it would make no difference for their vote.

Survey memo is available here

In 2022, Congress made a historic investment through the IRA to help America’s farmers and ranchers adopt tried-and-tested conservation practices that boost their businesses and strengthen their farms for the long haul. These programs are some of the most popular in the country, and have been consistently oversubscribed. (In 2023 alone, demand by farmers for conservation programs exceeded the additional funding allocated to them.) 

But now, some in Congress are attempting to divert these funds away from climate-smart conservation practices in the Farm Bill reauthorization. And with the House Committee on Agriculture meeting this week to mark up their version of the bill, this represents a crucial moment in the conversation for voters’ voices to be heard.

“Voters across America’s heartland have spoken loud and clear: They want these climate-smart conservation programs fully and permanently funded in the upcoming Farm Bill. At a time when our hard-working farmers and ranchers are facing serious challenges, including increasingly extreme weather, it’s never been more important that we stand with them and ensure they have the tools they need to weather these storms,” said Joe Hack, spokesperson for Invest in Our Land. “As Congress continues to work on these issues in the weeks ahead, we encourage them to continue to listen to the voices of ag producers and their constituents. Let’s finish the job and position American farms to thrive for generations to come. Our food, our families, and our economy depend on it.”

Farmers and ranchers across the country are facing serious challenges, from plummeting profits to skyrocketing costs to increasingly extreme weather. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, major disasters and extreme weather events — such as drought, floods, and wildfires — caused over $21 billion in crop losses for American farmers and ranchers in 2023 alone. The potential consequences of tampering with this vital assistance that helps farmers build resilience in the face of these disasters could be catastrophic, taking billions of dollars from farmers and ranchers to pay for upfront and unnecessary barriers.

This new survey shows that voters want to address these issues in the Farm Bill — and they see climate-smart conservation as a key tool for doing so.

  • A supermajority of voters believe it is important for the Farm Bill to help farms build resilience to extreme weather. When informed that major disasters and extreme weather — such as drought, floods, and wildfires — caused over $21 billion in crop losses for American farmers and ranchers in 2023 alone, more than 8 in 10 voters (82%) said it is important for the Farm Bill to include provisions that specifically help build farms’ resistance to these types of events. That includes more than three-quarters of Democrats (90%), Independents (75%) and Republicans (75%).
  • Nearly 6 in 10 believe it is important for the Farm Bill to fund practices that aim to reduce carbon emissions. When informed that agriculture accounts for approximately 21% of carbon emissions globally (which play a central role in increasing the frequency of extreme weather events), 58% of respondents said it is important for the Farm Bill to include funding for practices that specifically aim to reduce these emissions from farms and other agricultural operations — including 90% of Democrats and 57% of Independents.

About the Poll: Polling was conducted online from May 10 – 15, 2024. Using its Bias Correct Engine to attain a representative sample, Embold Research polled 2,236 likely 2024 general voters in PA, AR, GA, MN, IA, CO, SD, MI, MT,  and WI  Post-stratification was performed on age, gender, race/ethnicity, region, and 2020 presidential vote. The margin of error is +/-2.4%.

RELATED ARTICLES
- Advertisment -

Latest Stories