The Center for Rural Affairs is pleased to see funding for farmers and landowners implementing conservation practices on working lands included in the Build Back Better Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
One of the programs established by this legislation is payments for cover crops to farmers and landowners. Planted outside of cash crop season, cover crops build soil health and protect it from eroding. The $5 billion in funding would pay participating farmers $25 an acre for up to 1,000 acres. It would also provide $5 an acre to non-operating landowners.
“This funding has implications for rural communities and our natural resources,” said Kayla Bergman, senior policy associate for the Center. “Cover crops provide our farmers and landowners with improved soil health and carbon sequestration ability, and our communities with improved water quality.”
The legislation also includes $4.1 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and $9 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, which provide financial and technical assistance through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Bergman said programs like CSP have been historically underfunded and oversubscribed.
“This boost in funding will help ensure that farmers who are doing the hard work of investing in conservation have the financial and technical assistance necessary to be successful,” she said. “We would like to thank lawmakers for recognizing the importance of supporting farmers, landowners, and our rural communities.”