Conserving Land Through Climate-Smart Easements: A Priority for Producers – AgriNews

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USDA Invests $138 Million in Climate-Smart Conservation Easements

Investment in Climate-Smart Agriculture

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is allocating approximately $138 million from President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for 138 new climate-smart conservation easements. These initiatives aim to conserve wetlands, grasslands, and prime farmlands, marking the largest climate investment in history.

Supporting Farmers and Ranchers

The Agricultural Conservation Easement Program projects are part of a broader effort to promote climate-smart agriculture and forestry under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has expanded priorities to facilitate the adoption of climate-smart systems by producers.

Climate-Change Mitigation Benefits

Beyond climate-change mitigation, the ACEP program plays a crucial role in safeguarding the future of farmers, ranchers, and agricultural communities. It helps protect sensitive landscapes like wetlands, grasslands, and prime farmland, especially in the face of a changing climate.

President Biden’s Vision

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack commended President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act for enabling record conservation efforts. These easements provide farmers and ranchers with the necessary tools to preserve valuable landscapes and farmland. The program has also undergone improvements to enhance efficiency and effectiveness for agricultural producers and conservation partners.

Supporting America the Beautiful Initiative

These investments align with the president’s America the Beautiful initiative, which promotes voluntary, locally led conservation efforts across the nation.

Key Projects Selection

NRCS has selected projects based on reducing carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions. These projects include high-threat conversion areas, lands with organic soils, restored forest habitats, and grassland habitats across various states.

Inflation Reduction Act Funding

The Inflation Reduction Act provides additional funding for climate-smart agriculture and forestry activities through NRCS programs. NRCS has started implementing the act, allocating significant funds for conservation investments, marking a historic milestone for the agency.

Streamlining ACEP

To enhance the Inflation Reduction Act‘s implementation, NRCS is streamlining the ACEP program. This streamlining process includes simplifying appraisals, land surveys, and certifying eligible entities to facilitate the enrollment of lands into agricultural easements.

More Information

ACEP offers financial assistance to entities for purchasing easements that protect agriculture use and conservation values of eligible land. ACEP-WRE supports landowners in restoring and enhancing wetlands previously degraded by agricultural activities. Applications for NRCS programs are accepted continuously, with state-specific ranking dates determining funding cycles.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-03-31 15:10:00

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