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We’re leading an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

Let’s be clear: This is a matter of economic importance to rural America. Many of America’s farms, especially small-scale family farms, operate on razor-thin profit margins, and increasingly severe climate impacts are disrupting their operations and hitting their pocketbooks hard.

1. Executive Summary

When the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) passed in August 2022, America’s farmers received an infusion of conservation funding. Freshly equipped with $19.5 billion for climate-smart agriculture programs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is more ready than ever to support working farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners with conservation programs.

And this historic funding couldn’t have come at a better time. From the crop-damaging floods in Vermont to livestock-killing heatwaves in Nebraska, this summer’s climate-fuelled disasters have hit agricultural communities hard. Fortunately, the $19.5 billion in IRA climate-smart agriculture funding is already protecting rural communities from the impacts of increasingly severe weather events, while also delivering much-needed reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.

But here’s the bad news: Republicans in Congress are threatening to revoke vital funding for climate-smart agriculture programs in the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization. And that’s a problem for our farmers, agricultural communities, and climate. Losing climate-smart agriculture funds could destabilize small farmers and their families’ economic security, while rendering farms more vulnerable to severe weather impacts like flooding and drought.

After decades of disinvestment, rural communities deserve a thriving, clean energy economy that will deliver jobs, justice, and climate resilience, not a backslide in support. Right now, Congress has a powerful opportunity to protect the $19.5 billion for climate-smart agriculture programs for the long haul.

This memo will explain these climate-smart agriculture programs, and why they must be protected in the 2023 Farm Bill. Together, these necessary, popular, and oversubscribedclimate-smart agriculture funds deliver concrete economic benefits to farmers and rural communities.

  1. Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) - $8.45 billion

  2. Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) - $3.25 billion

  3. Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) - $1.4 billion

  4. Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) - $4.95 billion

  5. Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA) - $1 billion, as well as $300 million to measure, evaluate, and quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas pollution reductions from conservation investments.



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