IRA assistance is available through NRCS’ oversubscribed conservation programs for agricultural producers. NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round, but for fiscal year 2024 funding, producers interested in the Environmental Quality Incentives Program or Conservation Stewardship Program should apply by their state’s ranking dates to be considered for funding in the current cycle. Those ranking dates will be available later this year.
Funding is provided through a competitive process and will include an opportunity to address the unmet demand from producers who have previously sought funding for climate-smart conservation activities. Those applications that were not previously funded, and those that are received after the ranking date, will automatically be considered during future funding cycles.
We Are Hiring to Help with IRA Implementation
Right now, we’re increasing staff to help implement $19.5 billion from the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) for conservation programs. These jobs are part of a broader effort to help producers develop conservation plans and implement conservation practices, including critical climate-smart practices. Go to USAjobs.gov and search for “NRCS” or “Natural Resources Conservation Service” to find the latest openings.
The IRA provides an additional $19.5 billion over five years to support USDA’s conservation programs that yield climate change mitigation benefits. Implementation began in 2023. These investments mean that more producers will have access to conservation assistance and include:
- $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
- $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program
- $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program
- $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
- $1 billion for Conservation Technical Assistance
- $300 million to measure, evaluate, quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions from conservation investments (see fact sheet)
These additional funds will help farmers and ranchers implement expanded conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase storage of carbon in their soil and trees. The conservation funding is in addition to otherwise available program funds, and participation is voluntary, incentive-based and targeted to support climate-smart mitigation activities and other conservation activities that facilitate them.
- Farmers.gov webpage: Inflation Reduction Act Investments in FPAC Programs
- Fact Sheet: Harnessing the Inflation Reduction Act to Further Support Forest Landscapes
- Fact Sheet: Harnessing the Inflation Reduction Act to Further Support Grasslands
- Fact Sheet: Harnessing the Inflation Reduction Act to Further Support Wetlands
- Fact Sheet: USDA Investment in Improved GHG Measurement, Monitoring, Reporting and Verification for Agriculture and Forestry through the Inflation Reduction Act
- Fact Sheet: NRCS Conservation Programs and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
- Fact Sheet: Harnessing the IRA to Support Western Agricultural Landscapes