The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) – signed in August 2022 by President Biden – represents the single largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in American history.
IRA assistance is now available through NRCS’ oversubscribed conservation programs for agricultural producers. NRCS accepts producer applications for its conservation programs year-round, but for fiscal year 2023 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. If a producer applies after the ranking date, NRCS will automatically consider their application during any future funding cycles and will contact them for any changes that need to be considered.
The IRA provides an additional $19.5 billion over five years to support USDA’s conservation programs that yield climate-change mitigation benefits. These are programs that are well-known to farmers and ranchers and are also oversubscribed. These investments mean that more producers will have access to conservation assistance.
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. Over the next few years, we plan to hire new NRCS team members. On May 5, we announced that we’re hiring soil conservationists across the country. See news release for job listings. These jobs are part of a broader effort to help producers develop conservation plans and implement conservation practices, including critical climate-smart practices.
NRCS soil conservationists offer conservation planning and technical help to agricultural producers, helping them implement practices that sequester carbon, mitigate against climate change and conserve other natural resources. Watch this video to learn more about soil conservationists.
The IRA provides an additional $19.5 billion over five years to support USDA’s conservation programs that yield climate change mitigation benefits. These are programs that are well-known to farmers and ranchers and are also oversubscribed. These investments mean that more producers will have access to conservation assistance. This includes:
- $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
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 the voluntary, incentive-based approach is targeted to support climate-smart mitigation activities and other conservation activities that help facilitate them.
- Farmers.gov webpage: Inflation Reduction Act Investments in FPAC Programs
- Fact Sheet: NRCS Conservation Programs and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA)
- Fact Sheet: Harnessing the IRA to Support Western Agricultural Landscapes