New Orleans, LA – Today, at NACD’s 77th Annual Meeting, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of Inflation Reduction Act funding to support oversubscribed voluntary conservation programs.
In Fiscal Year 2023, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will make $850 million available for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
Secretary Vilsack spoke to an audience of over 800 conservation professionals during his keynote presentation at the NACD Leadership Luncheon.
“The reality is, we can’t get it done without you. There needs to be a strong partnership between USDA and conservation districts. You’re the trusted source in your communities,” remarked Secretary Vilsack. “Now, for the first time in a long time you’re going to have significant resources to drive adoption, get producers ready to participate in climate-smart markets, and quantify and measure those outcomes. This is the moment for people to understand what you’ve been advocating for a long time – conservation. This is your opportunity.”
NACD applauds this investment in voluntary and locally-led conservation efforts. It is critical for the conservation districts to have the tools needed to face the challenges of the future.
“Conservation districts are ready to work closely with USDA to implement these new investments in voluntary, locally led programs,” said NACD President-Elect Kim LaFleur. “As local partners, districts are uniquely positioned to expand conservation opportunities for historically underserved producers. We know that strong collaboration is the key to success and look forward to continuing that work with USDA.”