"What the Historic Climate Bill Means for Farmers and the Food System"

"The Inflation Reduction Act includes billions for sustainable agriculture and a last-minute provision to provide debt relief to farmers."

"On Sunday, after a marathon session that spanned the weekend, Democrats in the U.S. Senate passed the country’s most significant climate bill to date. While lawmakers made controversial concessions that will expand oil and gas drilling to secure the support of Senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) will incentivize unprecedented shifts toward renewable energy, electric vehicles, and curbing methane emissions from fossil fuel production.

For farmers and the broader food system, experts say the climate bill does not go nearly as far but will still have far-reaching implications. Action to curb emissions from any sector will benefit farmers struggling to grow food as weather extremes and disasters increase, and the legislation directly earmarks about $40 billion for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation programs—many of which incentivize climate-friendly practices such as reducing tillage and the planting of cover crops—renewable energy infrastructure on farms and in rural communities, and climate-smart forestry.

“The influx of money is unquestionably a big deal for sustainable agriculture and climate resilience,” said Michael Lavender, interim policy director at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), which hosted a “Farmer Climate Story Week” at the end of July to highlight climate action on farms."

Lisa Held reports for Civil Eats August 9, 2022.

Source: Civil Eats, 08/10/2022