Conservation funding and the 2023 Farm Bill

The USDA has begun implementing funding for conservation programs under the Inflation Reduction Act.

Andrew Walmsley, senior director of government affairs with American Farm Bureau, says there are some concerns about if it will impact the upcoming farm bill.

“There are some that believe USDA might not be able to spend those dollars as the reconciliation bill, the Inflation Reduction Act, had set out. If there was to be a loss of any of that funding, Congress wants to make sure they repurpose that and utilize it in a farm bill baseline,” he says.

The Inflation Reduction Act earmarked $40 billion for agriculture. Nearly $20 billion of that is allotted for climate-smart agriculture over the next five years.

But, he says it’s not clear how the funding could be used.

“Republicans and Democrats may have some different priorities but generally when you look at challenges facing food insecurity, rural America, the needs that are being identified in this farm bill, hopefully all dollars that are out there are on the table to make those improvements,” he says.  

According to the USDA, the Inflation Reduction Act funds will provide direct climate mitigation benefits and expand access to financial and technical assistance for producers to advance conservation on their farm, ranch or forest land through practices like cover cropping, conservation tillage, wetland restoration, prescribed grazing, nutrient management, tree planting, and more.

Walmsley spoke to reporters during the recent Ohio Farm Bureau County Presidents’ Trip to Washington D.C.

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