How the Inflation Reduction Act impacts agriculture in Montana

Bozeman Chronicle

Agriculture conservation programs popular among Montanans will see unprecedented new funding over the next 10 years, following the passage of the roughly $770 billion Inflation Reduction Act last week.

The legislation marks the largest U.S. investment in climate change mitigation to date, and it banks on agriculture playing a key role in addressing the climate crisis.

The USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) will receive nearly $20 billion to bulk up agriculture conservation programs that help Montanans bolster soil health, water quality, and other natural resources on their land.

The USDA calls these programs “oversubscribed,” meaning they receive more applications than they can fund. In Montana, the programs often can only fund one person for every three who apply, according to Walter Schweitzer, president of the Montana Farmers Union.

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Following the IRA’s passage, “right away, three times more farmers can participate in those programs,” Schweitzer said.

Of the NRCS programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) will receive $8.45 billion in new funding, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) $4.95 billion, the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) $3.25 billion, and the Agricultural Conservation Easement program (ACEP) $1.4 billion –

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