POLITICO: Keeping climate-ag in reconciliation

POLITICO, XIMENA BUSTILLO

Reps. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) will be sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer this morning advocating for preserving the agricultural provisions of the reconciliation package.

“If the United States is going to meet its climate goals, it is essential that we actively enlist the help of those who know the land best — farmers, producers, ranchers, and forestland owners — to not just cut greenhouse gas emissions but actively sequester carbon from our atmosphere,” the pair write in the letter first seen by POLITICO.

What’s in the bill: To recap, the House Ag Committee last month advanced its part of the larger package to provide $1 billion for expanded biofuel investments and millions for climate research.

Democrats also aim to include $28 billion in conservation funding that includes $5 billion for direct payments to producers who establish cover crops, $200 million for Natural Resources Conservation Service technical assistance and billions more for voluntary conservation programs like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program.

While these $28 billion didn’t make it into the proposal in time for the House Ag Committee to advance the measure, lawmakers hoped to include them later on in the process.

The lawmakers argue that the increase in funding for voluntary conservation programs and technical assistance are key to engaging farmers in climate action. “Unfortunately, funding for these positions has also failed to meet the sustained demand for agricultural producers,” they note about the need for more “boots on the ground” assistance for producers.

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