August 16, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Zaks
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Washington, DC, August 16, 2022 – Today, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA), a far-reaching $750 billion health care, tax, and climate bill, into law. The bill makes historic investments in federal programs to address the climate crisis and aims to reduce carbon emissions by roughly 40 percent by 2030.
“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition celebrates today’s signing into law of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 by President Biden. While not as comprehensive as earlier iterations, this bill represents a meaningful step forward on addressing the climate crisis and reflects key priorities lifted up by the farmers and communities our membership serves. NSAC thanks Congress and the Administration for prioritizing climate solutions for agriculture and rural communities, and for addressing farmers’ desire to utilize working lands conservation programs to mitigate their climate impacts,” said Mike Lavender, NSAC Interim Policy Director.
The bill allocates $40 billion for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expand climate-focused programs, notably including roughly $20 billion in additional conservation funding. NSAC is especially pleased to see boosts to historically over-subscribed and underfunded programs, especially the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the program with the strongest suite of tools to support farmers as they mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. While these investments do not directly allocate funding for climate adaptation and instead focus on the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, they represent forward progress on climate at a critical time, especially looking forward to the 2023 Farm Bill reauthorization.
The IRA also includes more than $3 billion in dedicated funding to provide debt relief to distressed farmers who hold Farm Service Agency direct or guaranteed loans as well as over $2 billion to be paid to farmers who have experienced discrimination in USDA lending programs. NSAC recognizes that this relief funding, while overdue, still does not meet the needs and expectations of organizations serving farmers of color. NSAC looks forward to supporting our members and partners in ensuring that these investments are delivered in a transparent and accountable manner.
In addition, other important priorities were left behind in this pared-down bill, such as key research funding on climate change and important child nutrition priorities, including provisions to extend USDA’s waiver authority to allow schools to offer meals to all students at no charge through the 2022–2023 school year, to expand eligibility to allow more schools to offer meals to all students at no charge beyond this school year, and create a nationwide Summer EBT Program to provide resources to families over the summer when childhood hunger spikes.
“However, despite the bill’s shortcomings, after years of dedicated work from countless individuals, we are thrilled to see the President sign meaningful legislation that can address climate change and build a more resilient farm and food system. As this chapter closes, the work to unlock the full climate potential of these investments is only beginning. NSAC looks forward to engaging with the Administration, Congress, and other stakeholders to ensure these historic investments rise to meet the moment,” Lavender added.
About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net