ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) commended the inclusion of $20 billion in new funding for USDA conservation programs in the Inflation Reduction Act which passed the Senate recently.
The funding, spearheaded by Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, will help dairy farmers advance their proactive sustainability leadership by enhancing farm bill conservation programs with an emphasis on key dairy areas of opportunity, including feed management. The new investments will provide important voluntary technical assistance to dairy farmers who undertake such stewardship practices, including targeted new funding that emphasizes critical farm practices that yield significant environmental benefits for dairy.
“Dairy farmers seize environmental sustainability opportunities whenever possible,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “The funding increases in this package will better position dairy farmers to effectively implement the dairy sector’s Net Zero Initiative and fulfill its 2050 environmental stewardship goals. We are very grateful to Chairwoman Stabenow for her success and leadership in securing this meaningful new conservation investment, which will be a game-changer for dairy.”
Dairy farmers in 2020 committed in their Net Zero Initiative to become greenhouse gas neutral or better by 2050, while also maximizing water quality and optimizing water use around the country.
Key wins for dairy among the climate-smart ag provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act include:
- $8.45 billion in new funds for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which provides important technical assistance to dairy farmers, targeted toward stewardship practices that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
- $25 million annually for Conservation Innovation Trials, with new funding targeted toward initiatives that use feed and diet management to reduce the enteric methane emissions that can comprise roughly one-third of a dairy farm’s greenhouse gas footprint. NMPF is excited for this opportunity to amplify its focus on reducing enteric emissions; and
- $6.75 billion in new funds for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, which funds locally developed, targeted partnership projects, emphasizing initiatives that incentivize or target reduced methane emissions.
NMPF and the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives last year led a coalition of 12 agricultural and conservation organizations on a letter advocating for significant new funding for climate-smart agricultural practices while opposing tax policy proposals that could have undermined the transfer of family farms from one generation to the next. NMPF is pleased that those tax policy proposals are not included in this legislation and thanks the many members in both parties who advocated against them.
NMPF also looks forward to continuing to work with both Republicans and Democrats to enact climate and conservation policy into law. Last year, the Senate passed the Growing Climate Solutions Act, authored by Senator Mike Braun, R-IN, and Chairwoman Stabenow by a vote of 92-8. More recently, the House Agriculture Committee adopted the SUSTAINS Act authored by Ranking Member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-PA, by a voice vote. Last month, NMPF worked with Reps. Jim Baird, R-IN, and Jimmy Panetta, D-CA, to secure new funding for animal feed additive approvals in pending appropriations legislation.
The National Milk Producers Federation, based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. NMPF’s member cooperatives produce more than two-thirds of U.S. milk, making NMPF dairy’s voice on Capitol Hill and with government agencies. For more, visit www.nmpf.org.
–National Milk Producers Federation