717. Implementation of Climate Action on Agriculture in the United States
One week ago, on February 7, President Biden delivered his State of the Union address. In his speech, the President referred to the recent catastrophes caused by extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, hurricanes, and wildfires that have hit the U.S., and described climate change as an existential threat of global catastrophe. He emphasized the need for the current generation, including the wealthy and corporations, to share responsibility and make investments for future generations.
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) cited by Pres. Biden was first announced last August and is considered the first major climate change measure in American history. It includes financial and fiscal support for clean energy, energy-efficient infrastructure investment, and the transition to electric vehicles, as well as support for land conservation in the agricultural sector. In particular, it aims to maintain soil health by promoting soil conservation practices such as no-till and cover crops to protect forests and promote climate-friendly agricultural practices.
Today, we take a brief look in the implementation of programs for agricultural conservation in the IRA. The IRA allocates $19.5 billion to existing conservation programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other agencies to provide assistance to farmers in adopting conservation practices.
The $19.5 billion in funding for agricultural conservation is broken down as follows.
- $8.45 billion : Environmental Quality Incentives Program to support practices that improve soil carbon sequestration and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (40% increase over the existing budget)
- $4.95 billion : Regional Conservation Partnership Program (105% increase)
- $3.25 billion : Conservation Stewardship Program (21% increase)
- $1.4 billion : Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (28% increase)
- $1 billion : conservation technical assistance
- $300 million : to measure, evaluate, quantify carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emission reductions from conservation investments
On February 13, it was reported that applications for these funds for fiscal year 2023 have been opened. These funds are expected to help farmers and ranchers expand conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration through soil and tree planting.
Although the specific approaches will differ depending on each country's circumstances, a paradigm shift to sustainable agricultural practices is becoming an inevitable trend worldwide, and it will be important to learn from the lessons of each country and region.
Contributor: IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)