Last week President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) of 2022 into law. Substantial investments in conservation have been a point of emphasis for the agricultural industry, celebrating the support included in the legislation. IRA narrowly passed through the U.S. Senate on August 7 and was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on August 12. Each of the votes was along party lines. American Farmland Trust, the National Association of Conservation Districts, and other farm groups voiced appreciation for the support for agriculture included in the legislation.
“The passage of the Inflation Reduction Act is cause for optimism for farmers and ranchers across the country, with historic investments in voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs that are critically underfunded,” National Farmers Union President Rob Larew said in a press release. “The inclusion of financial support for economically distressed farmers and ranchers is also a welcome addition that will help keep farmers on their land for years to come.”
Of the roughly $770 billion allocated within IRA, approximately $40 billion will benefit agriculture, forestry, and rural communities. Nearly $20 billion will be allocated for technical assistance and various conservation programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. An additional $4 billion is intended to help mitigate drought impacts in the Western U.S.
“The Inflation Reduction Act will provide significant support for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners as they care for our precious land, adapt and mitigate to climate change and ensure America remains a food secure nation,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build critical infrastructure, to protect communities from wildfire and extreme heat and to drive climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy initiatives nationwide.”
Biofuel provisions included in the legislation were also heralded by groups such as the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy, and Renewable Fuels Association. IRA contains $500 million to improve market development of higher blends of biofuels and new tax credits for incentivizing cleaner fuel adoption.