On Aug. 12, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. It provides investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities USDA serves. The IRA provides additional funding levels for several programs which the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) currently implements. Increased funding levels will begin in fiscal year 2023 and build over four years.
Agriculture is at the forefront of efforts to address climate change. NRCS will use the investments provided by the IRA to support farmers and ranchers adopt and expand climate-smart activities and systems through conservation programs. NRCS is asking for comments and feedback on how to target program benefits, quantify impact, and improve program delivery and outreach, especially for underserved producers. We are looking for quick implementation opportunities for FY23 and then longer term improvements/ changes that can be made in FY24 and beyond.
In particular, we are looking for input on the following:
- how to best maximize benefits for climate mitigation, including targeting practices and programs that provide quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions;
- strategies and recommendations on how to maximize, target, monitor, and quantify improvements to soil carbon, reductions in nitrogen losses, and the reduction, capture, avoidance, or sequestration of carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions associated with agricultural production; and
- ideas for how to further streamline and improve program delivery to increase efficiencies and expand program access for producers, especially underserved producers.