Smith: Investing in compliance will boost future farm bills

The climate funding package agreed by Senate Democrats should make it easier to pass the next farm bill while helping consumers and producers cope with climate change, said Tina Smith, a Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee from Minnesota.

“I think it will go a long way in lowering prices for consumers and supporting strong energy,” Smith said of the bill. known as the Inflation Reduction Actin an Agro-Pulse News an interview. “Rural energy is clean energy, and being able to support this bill along with conservation programs is a big deal.”

The bill, which the Senate is expected to take up over the weekend, provides about $20 million for farm bill preservation programs and another $20 billion for energy and forestry programs. Some Republicans have expressed concern about the precedent of using the budget reconciliation process to revise and fund farm bill programs without the minority party’s input. “We have never written a farm bill this way. It goes against the way the Senate — and the Agriculture Committee in particular — is supposed to operate,” said senior Arkansas Republican John Boozman.

But Smith believes the Inflation Reduction Act addresses a critical need in the farm bill. “A lot more farmers want to participate in these programs if we have the dollars to allow it. All of that makes me feel comfortable that we’re moving in the right direction and we’re actually moving in a direction that there’s already a demand in agriculture that we just haven’t been able to meet,” she said.

Newsmakers Panelist and National Farmers Union President Rob Lareve said the bill would be a “historic investment” in conservation programs, but he also acknowledged that other areas of the legislation could expect increased funding in future legislation.

“This investment of cash now is certainly not a bad thing; we strongly support it,” he said. “But the impact it could have on the farm bill, I think, is very hard to gauge right now. When we get to the farm bill, nobody ever wants to be part of the conversation about moving from one title to another.”

“I think definitely we want to make sure there’s enough investment in the first title as well [commodity programs]in security programs like crop insurance and so on and to make sure that nutrition is taken care of,” he said. historic investment in many of these programs, including … conservation programs.’

In addition to its impact on conservation programs, the The Inflation Reduction Act has caught the attention of the biodiesel industry. The bill would create a clean fuel tax credit for low-carbon biofuels and provide $500 million for biofuel infrastructure.

Kurt Kovarik, vice president of federal affairs for the American Clean Fuels Alliance, noted that the legislation would extend the biofuel tax credit through 2024 as a bridge to the new clean fuel credit.

“Our motivation in this has always been that if you’re going to put forward policies around climate, energy independence, self-energy, biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, we have to be a strong component of that,” Kovarik said. . “It shouldn’t just be electric cars or new technologies that are emerging. There are technologies like biodiesel, renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel that are delivering gallons of low-carbon fuel today that add value to America’s farmers.”

To learn more about the future of the Anti-Inflation Act, biofuels and more, tune in episode this week Agro-Pulse News.

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