LANSING — Friday afternoon, Senate Democrats released an overview of $28 billion in conservation spending included in their $3.5 trillion spending bill.
Congress is currently working through reconciliation which provides for an expedited process to consider legislation that will change current law to affect one or more of: current spending, the debt limit, deficits, and tax revenue.
“While we have some overall concerns with the budget reconciliation package from a tax, overall spending and process perspective, we applaud Sen. Stabenow for her efforts in the conservation space,” said John Kran, Michigan Farm Bureau national legislative counsel.
“We appreciate the senator’s focus on investment in programs popular with farmers such as EQIP and CSP, and her support for working lands programs that help farmers continue to produce a sustainable food supply for Michigan and the world.”
According to the details released by Senate Democrats, the $28 billion in spending includes:
- $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to specifically increase funding for practices that help producers implement and expand conservation practices on their operations like cover cropping, nutrient management and buffers that safeguard resources and sequester carbon in their soil and trees. EQIP is currently oversubscribed 3:1, which is why it is receiving the most significant investment.
- $7.5 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnerships Program (RCPP), which leverages private and outside investments to support locally-led conservation.
- $4 billion for the Conservation Security Program (CSP), which focuses on whole-farm conservation systems.
- $1.5 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to ensure that land in easements is used in a way that protects soil and water, while maintaining its viability as farmland.
- $5 billion for a new cover crop initiative at FSA that provides farmers an alternative to get started with this critical conservation practice.
- $200 million for Conservation Technical Assistance so USDA has the resources needed to deliver these resources farmers.
- $600 million for additional measuring of GHG benefits of conservation practice adoption to underscore farmers’ leadership in addressing the climate crisis.
Senate Democrats say hundreds of farm, food and environmental advocates, including the Food and Ag Climate Alliance, more than 200 members of the climate conservation coalition, companies, and private citizens weighed in with input during the process.
The process to pass the budget only requires a simple majority to pass and is not subject to the filibuster.
— Michigan Farm Bureau
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