Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Aerial photo of croplands separated by windbreak trees, next to a pond

Inflation Reduction Act

The Inflation Reduction Act – part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda – represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history.

Inflation Reduction Act 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. 

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.

Inflation Reduction Act Investments

The Inflation Reduction Act 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:

For fiscal year 2024, which began Oct. 1, 2023, the Inflation Reduction Act provides:

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.

Expansion of Climate-Smart Agriculture and Forestry Mitigation Activities

NRCS is increasing Climate-Smart Agricultural and Forestry Mitigation Activities eligible for Inflation Reduction Act funding for fiscal year 2024 through EQIP and CSP. These in-demand activities are expected to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or increases in carbon sequestration as well as significant other benefits to natural resources like soil health, water quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat and air quality. In response to feedback received from conservation partners, producers and NRCS staff across the country, NRCS considered and evaluated activities based on scientific literature demonstrating expected climate change mitigation benefits.

When applied through this framework, these activities are expected to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or increases in carbon sequestration. NRCS will continue to evaluate additional practices as science progresses and will evaluate and identify quantification methodologies during the fiscal year.   

 

Expansion of priorities for the ACEP investments 

Additionally, NRCS is expanding the national priority areas eligible for Inflation Reduction Act funding for ACEP easements in fiscal year 2024.

For ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ALE), NRCS is prioritizing securing:   

  • Grasslands in areas of highest risk for conversion to non-grassland uses to prevent the release of soil carbon stores.    
  • Agricultural lands under threat of conversion to non-agricultural uses.    
  • State-specific priorities including rice cultivation on subsiding highly organic soils.    

For ACEP Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE), NRCS is prioritizing:   

  • Land with soils high in organic carbon.    
  • Eligible lands that will be restored to and managed as forests like bottomland hardwood forests.    
  • Eligible lands in existing forest cover that will be managed as forests.    
  • Several geographically specific priorities (i.e., former cranberry bogs, wet meadows, and ephemeral wetlands in grassland ecosystems).   

For more information, see our factsheet, The Agricultural Conservation Easements Program and the Inflation Reduction Act

Building Capacity

Right now, we’re increasing staff to help implement the Inflation Reduction Act. NRCS plans to hire up to 4,000 new staff members as well as work with conservation partners to hire nearly 3,000 staff members 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.

Streamlining Programs

To strengthen implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, NRCS is improving its programs, including RCPP and ACEP.

For RCPP, NRCS has identified ways to streamline and simplify RCPP, ease the burden on employees and partners, and help maximize flexibility for partners to leverage their investments with NRCS resources and capabilities. Through a concerted effort since early 2023, using guidance, feedback and expertise from partners, employees, leadership and stakeholders, NRCS has identified several improvements that the agency will implement in the months and years ahead. Learn more about the RCPP improvement effort.

For ACEP, NRCS is updating its processes around appraisals, land surveys, as well as certifying eligible entities who help NRCS and producers enroll land into easements. These changes are for ACEP Agricultural Land Easements (ALE) as well as Wetland Reserve Easements (WRE). Learn more about ACEP improvements.

More Information