How the climate deal could help farmers aid the environment

By Michael Phillis, Associated Press, PBS News Hour

The funding would expand programs favored by both environmental groups and the agricultural sector, said Ben Thomas, who focuses on agriculture at the Environmental Defense Fund. “They are voluntary, they are incentive-based, they get results in terms of implementing conservation practices on working lands,” said Thomas. “It’s great to see.”

Thomas said historically, the agricultural sector has not aggressively tackled its contribution to climate change, but that hesitation has shifted in recent years and more money will accelerate progress. There’s a lot of potential, he said. Read more here.

USDA NEWS RELEASE

Statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Inflation Reduction Act

WASHINGTON, July 28, 2022 – “President Biden and Congress have taken an important, historic step towards easing the burden of inflation on the American public and meeting the moment on climate. If passed, the Inflation Reduction Act will have a meaningful impact on the rural and agriculture communities we serve at The Department of Agriculture.

“Agriculture has long been at the forefront of our fight against climate change. From climate-smart agriculture, to supporting healthy forests and conservation, to tax credits, to biofuels, infrastructure and beyond, this agreement provides USDA with significant additional resources to continue to lead the charge.

USDA CLIMATE ACTION PLAN 

USDA Action Plan For Climate Adaptation And Resilience, August 2021


This Action Plan for Climate Adaptation and Resilience outlines how USDA will provide relevant information, tools, and resources to its stakeholders and target programs and activities to increase resilience to climate impacts. USDA will prioritize equity, promote environmental justice through a focus on healthy communities, and target adaptation actions with co-benefits for climate mitigation, conservation, and sustainability.
– USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack


ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Climate spending in new reconciliation deal a ‘turning point’ for the U.S., supporters say, by Jacob Fischler, Nebraska Examiner
Environmental advocates largely praised the climate provisions in Senate Democrats’ massive taxes, health care and energy bill released Wednesday night, saying even with provisions to help the fossil fuel industry, the measure represents a historic step toward addressing the climate crisis. The 725-page bill — made public mere hours after U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin III and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer announced a surprise deal — includes $369 billion over 10 years in tax credits and spending for renewable energy.

Reconciliation bill includes ag conservation programs, The Fence Post
Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced that there will be a nearly $40 billion investment in agriculture, forestry, and rural communities to fight inflation and lower costs for the American people through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Senate Deal Boosts Climate-Smart Ag, Progressive Farmer
The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) would see nearly $1.8 billion in funding. Rural renewable energy loans would also be expanded as well. Rural electric cooperatives would see $9.7 billion to help build out renewable energy development as well. “This bill creates direct incentives for co-ops to bolster investments in carbon capture, grid modernization, renewables, battery storage and other energy technologies,” said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Tax incentives would expand wind, solar and other renewable energy through 10 years of tax credits.

Links to Resources

FEATURED NEBRASKA FARM USING RENEWABLE ENERGY

Pork Producer Uses Solar Power Technology To Improve Environment And Operation, Brownfield Ag News

A Northeast Nebraska pork producer is using renewable energy to promote sustainable agriculture and offset energy consumption on his farm. He says he received a 26 percent tax credit on the project and it has a 7 to 8 year payoff period.