The Natural Resources Conservation Service has added new activities to the list of those eligible for Inflation Reduction Act funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program in 2024. 

Among the new additions to the list of climate-smart agriculture and forestry mitigation activities are a slate of livestock-related practices including feed management, waste storage facility development and waste separation facility development. The list also includes several irrigation-related practices to support pipeline installation, microirrigation, sprinkler systems and pumping plants. 

Other practices include cover cropping for moisture use efficiency, biochar production, grazing-maintained fuel breaks for fire prevention, prescribed burning and herbaceous weed treatment, among other things.

In a press release, the agency said the additional practices are based on suggestions from producers, conservation groups and agency staff. 

"These in-demand activities are expected to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or increases in carbon sequestration as well as significant other benefits to natural resources like soil health, water quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat and air quality," USDA said.

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Senate Agriculture Committee Republicans, who want to see the climate-smart requirements removed in order to move the IRA funding into the farm bill baseline, issued a report earlier this month arguing that fewer than half of the projects currently used in EQIP and CSP would meet the climate-smart requirements for IRA eligibility. 

Some of the examples they cited, such as prescribed burning and irrigation efficiency, have now been added to the list.

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