Inflation Reduction Act provides nearly $40 billion to ag
Posted on Aug 16, 2022 at 20:00 PM
On Aug. 15, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (HR 5376) into law. The act includes nearly $40 million in funding for agricultural conservation, energy and forestry projects.
The U.S. Senate passed the bill on Aug. 7 by a 51-50 vote, with the support of Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and John Ossof. The U.S. House passed the bill on Aug. 12 by a 220-207 vote. Georgia Reps. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-2nd District), Hank Johnson D-4th, Nikema Williams (D-5th) , Lucy McBath (D-6th), Carolyn Bordeaux (D-7th), and David Scott (D-13th) voted in favor of the bill.
According to a fact sheet from the Senate Agriculture Committee, the new law provides more than $20 billion to help farmers and ranchers address climate change. This includes funds for implementation and expansion of conservation practices, providing incentives for practices like optimizing fertilizer use and planning cover crops, and expanding public-private partnerships and supporting locally led conservation. The bill includes $14 billion for rural families and rural clean energy-related jobs. Another $5 billion is designated for protecting communities from wildfires.
Analysis from Farm Progress notes that “the bill does remove for the new reconciliation funds the set-aside requirement established in the farm bill that at least 50% of the funds made available be targeted at practices relating to livestock production, including grazing management practices. Livestock will still be eligible, but not subject to the 50% requirement.”
Senate Agriculture Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) voiced opposition to the bill beig passed through reconciliation, which is exempt from Senate filibuster rules requiring 60 votes for passage. Boozman said this sets a bad precedent for approving funding for farm bill programs without any hearings.
“If they go down this road, we very well might be looking at reconciliation as the only way future farm bills get written. Whoever holds the pen wields the fate for vital programs that farmers, ranchers and foresters depend on,” Boozman said in an Aug. 5 prepared statement, noting that the same condition would apply for farm bill nutrition programs.