USDA announces new opportunities to improve nutrient management
Historic Funding for the Inflation Reduction Act, an Unprecedented Investment in U.S. Agriculture
WASHINGTON, August 15, 2022 – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) welcomed the passage of the Cut Inflation Act, which will provide $19.5 billion in new conservation funds to support climate-smart agriculture. This historic funding will reinforce new measures the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today to improve opportunities for nutrient management. NRCS will target funding, increase program flexibility, launch a new awareness campaign to promote the economic benefits of nutrient management, and expand partnerships to develop nutrient management plans. This is part of the USDA’s broader efforts to address future fertilizer availability and cost challenges for US growers.
“President Biden and Congress have taken an important and historic step toward easing the burden of inflation on the American public and addressing the climate momentum,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak. “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, biofuels, infrastructure and beyond, the Cut Inflation Act provides the USDA with significant additional resources to continue to lead the charge.
Through USDA conservation programs, U.S. farmers and ranchers will have simplified opportunities to improve their nutrient management planning, which provides conservation benefits while mitigating the impacts of chain disturbances. supply chain and rising input costs.
“The pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine have led to supply chain disruptions, higher input prices and commodity shortages in countries around the world,” Vilsack said. “The USDA is responding to the needs of U.S. growers and consumers by adding program flexibilities, expanding options and assistance, and investing in nutrient management strategies to help farmers address local resource issues. and global food security while improving their outcomes.”
Specifically, NRCS efforts include:
- Simplified Nutrient Management Initiative – A streamlined initiative will incentivize nutrient management activities through key conservation programs including the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP), EQIP Conservation Incentive Contracts and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP). conservation stewardship. The initiative will use a grading threshold for pre-approval and will include a simplified and accelerated application process, targeted outreach to small-scale and historically underserved producers, and coordination with the FSA to streamline the eligibility process for the program for growers new to the USDA. In addition to funding otherwise available at the state level, NRCS is targeting additional FY23 funding for nutrient management. The NRCS is also announcing a streamlined funding opportunity of up to $40 million in Nutrient Management grant opportunities through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
- Awareness campaign on the economic benefits of nutrient management – A new awareness campaign will highlight the economic benefits of nutrient management planning for farmers. The potential net savings for farmers adopting a nutrient management plan is estimated to average $30 per acre for cropland. It is estimated that there are 89 million acres of cropland (28% of total US cropland) currently exceeding the nitrogen loss threshold; and if all of those acres implemented a nutrient management plan, the average net savings would be $2.6 billion. NRCS staff develop nutrient management plans to help growers use nutrient resources effectively and efficiently to adequately supply soils and plants with needed nutrients while minimizing nutrient transport to ground and surface waters. Producer information is available at farmers.gov/global-food-security.
- Expanded support for nutrient management through streamlining and technical service provider pilots – New agreements with key partners that have existing capacity to support nutrient management planning and technical assistance will expand benefits and serve as a model to continue streamlining the Technical Service Provider (TSP) certification process ). The NRCS is also developing new opportunities to support partner training frameworks, nutrient stewardship outreach and education, and new incentive payments through TSP partners for planning and implementing nutrient management. nutrient management.
Alongside the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act provides one-time investments in rural communities and their infrastructure needs, while addressing the climate crisis. The bill invests $40 billion in existing USDA programs promoting climate-smart agriculture, rural energy efficiency and reliability, forest conservation, and more. Approximately $20 billion of this investment will support conservation programs that are oversubscribed, meaning more producers will have access to conservation assistance that will support healthier lands and waters, improve the resilience of their operations, support their results and fight climate change. This includes:
- $8.45 billion for EQIP
- $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP)
- $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP)
- $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easements Program (ACEP)
For more information and resources on nutrient management planning, visit farmers.gov/global-food-insecurity. Contact the NRCS at your local USDA service center for assistance with a nutrient management plan for your land.
The USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA is transforming the US food system with greater emphasis on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe food, healthy and nutritious in all communities, creating new markets and income streams for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in clean energy infrastructure and capacity in the rural America, and committing to equity across the department by removing systemic barriers and creating a workforce that is more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.
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