Budzinski Leads House Ag Democrats in Push to Preserve Climate-Smart Conservation Funding in 2023 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Representatives Nikki Budzinski (IL-13), Chellie Pingree (ME-01) and Jim Costa (CA-21) led Democratic members of the House Agriculture Committee in a letter urging Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson and Ranking Member David Scott to ensure the nearly $20 billion in conservation funding provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is used for its intended purpose in the 2023 Farm Bill. 

“Historic investment in conservation will benefit all farmers, and the authorized climate-smart practices will improve water quality, soil health, and habitat preservation on farms across the country. At a time when farmers are facing a torrent of climate related disasters, it is more important than ever to provide the resources that enable farmers to remain profitable and resilient,” wrote the lawmakers.

“The Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding will make an historic investment in farmers from all regions and give them the resources needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The evidence is clear that these investments are necessary and in demand,” they continued.

The Inflation Reduction Act represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history. The law provides $19.5 billion over five years to support USDA’s conservation programs that yield climate change mitigation benefits. 

The full letter can be found here and copied below:

Dear Chair Thompson and Ranking Member Scott,

As you negotiate the 2023 Farm Bill, we urge you to ensure that the nearly $20 billion provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is used for its intended purpose. Historic investment in conservation will benefit all farmers, and the authorized climate-smart practices will improve water quality, soil health, and habitat preservation on farms across the country. At a time when farmers are facing a torrent of climate related disasters, it is more important than ever to provide the resources that enable farmers to remain profitable and resilient.  

The Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding will make an historic investment in farmers from all regions and give them the resources needed to adapt to and mitigate climate change. The evidence is clear that these investments are necessary and in demand.

  • Current demand for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) far exceeds the available funding. The IRA provides a critical expansion of these programs that farmers want and use.
  • Conservation resources are available to and benefit all farmers.
  • Almost half of CSP and EQIP payments since 2020 went to climate-smart practices, meaning the practices that the IRA supports are in demand across the country.
  • The climate-smart programs in the IRA are supported by more than 1,700 farm groups, companies, environmental advocates, leading economists, local elected officials and municipalities, and trade associations.
  • Three out of four CSP applicants are turned away due to inadequate funding; moving the IRA funds from conservation would be denying farmers the support they need and want.

The Inflation Reduction Act was intended to go towards climate smart conservation, and it would ultimately be a disservice to American farmers should these funds go elsewhere. We implore you to keep the funds for their intended purpose and provide the resources farmers need.  

Thank you for your time and attention to this critical issue. We are hopeful that we can keep the Inflation Reduction Act funds dedicated to a robust set of practices and programs that serve farmers across the nation.

Sincerely,

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