Advocacy Update ⏤ Invest our Tax Dollars in Healthy Soils and a Stable Climate
By Dr. Kimberly Stoner, CT NOFA Director of Advocacy
At the United Nations, and around the world, this is Climate Week. I marched to the UN in New York City last Sunday with an estimated 75,000 people, demanding that President Biden declare a climate emergency and do more to end drilling for fossil fuels.
While we have to keep demanding more progress on climate, we also have to keep the victories we have won from being taken away. In the Inflation Reduction Act, passed last year, Congress agreed to put an historic $20 billion investment into climate-focused conservation programs for farms to build soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These are voluntary, incentive-based programs, and in addition to saving the climate, they also help farmers improve surface and ground water quality, increase water efficiency, build resilience to drought and flood, create habitat for fish and wildlife, and protect agricultural lands for future generations.
Organic farmers use the funds and technical assistance from these programs to get paid for practices that make their farms more adaptable and ecologically sound. In my time working at the Experiment Station, I talked with organic farmers who used these USDA conservation programs to install wells and efficient irrigation systems, deer fencing, wildlife and pollinator habitat, and buffers of vegetation along rivers and streams, and to support good organic soil-building and pest management practices.
There have always been more farmers (conventional as well as organic) who wanted to participate in conservation programs than the funding available, and this surge of $20 billion was intended to clear the backlog and help the many farmers who want to conserve more, pollute less, and build their soils to do so.
But now some in Congress want to take the money away.
In Connecticut, we have Congressional representatives in positions of power when it comes to money matters: Rep. Rosa DeLauro is the ranking member on the Appropriations Committee in the House, and Sen. Chris Murphy is also on the Appropriations Committee in the Senate. This gives us a strong voice in speaking up for defending the funding of conservation programs — and maybe making the increase permanent.
You can make your voice heard through t.
There are big fights ahead over money. As you have probably heard, we may get a government shutdown over the budget. Conservation programs are a very tiny fraction of the federal budget, and we shouldn’t stand still while they get sacrificed.
The 2018 Farm Bill expired on September 30, 2023. Rather than passing a new Farm…Read More