President Joe Biden today signed into law the $750 billion Inflation Reduction Act, which is primarily focused on climate change, prescription drug costs and lowering the deficit. The act, however, also includes as significant amount—roughly $40 billion—for agriculture- and rural-focused programs.
Among the agriculture and rural spending in the legislation is:
- Approximately $8.5 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which pays for projects that restore the ecosystem or reduce emissions on farmland;
- More than $3 billion for the USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program, which pays farmers to make their lands more sustainable;
- More than $6 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. The Regional Conservation Partnership Program relies on partners, such as environmental nonprofits, to help make farmland more sustainable. The easement program ensures that farmland won’t be replaced by roads, cities or other developments;
- About $9.7 billion in assistance for rural electric cooperatives for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and another $1 billion in loans for renewable energy projects in rural areas;
- About $2 billion for USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program, which funds renewable energy and energy efficiency projects;
- $500 million for biofuel infrastructure; and
- More than $5 billion for wildfire prevention and climate resiliency projects in public and private forests.