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Inflation Reduction Act
The Inflation Reduction Act builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic investments in rural America and furthers the commitment to rural communities demonstrated in the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build critical infrastructure, to protect communities from wildfire and extreme heat and to drive climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy initiatives nationwide.


White House Inflation Reduction Act News

2022-08-17 - Fact Sheet: Inflation Reduction Act Advances Environmental Justice
2022-08-17 - Fact Sheet: How the Inflation Reduction Act Helps Rural Communities
2022-08-17 - State Fact Sheets: How the Inflation Reduction Act Lowers Energy Costs, Creates Jobs, and Tackles Climate Change Across America
2022-08-16 - Fact Sheet: How the Inflation Reduction Act Helps Black Communities
2022-08-16 - Fact Sheet: How the Inflation Reduction Act Builds a Better Future for Young Americans


Forest Service

The Inflation Reduction Act has been described as “the most aggressive action on tackling the climate crisis in American history,” in part due to the forestry-related measures. While the IRA focuses primarily on lowering prescription drug costs, health care costs, and energy costs the legislation also contains measures reflecting the Biden-Harris Administration’s national priority of “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad” through forestry.

Forests play a vital role in the nation’s climate change response because they are America’s largest terrestrial carbon sink, taking up and storing vast amounts of atmospheric carbon in soils and woody plants. America’s forested lands, its harvested wood products, and its urban forests offset about 14.8 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions and about 11.9 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

The law makes $5 billion in additional funding available to the Forest Service for fuels and forest health treatments to protect communities from wildfire; for competitive grants to non-Federal forest landowners; for the agency’s State and Private Forestry programs; and includes $100 million for administrative costs to implement the law’s provisions.

  • Subtitle D, section 23001: $2.15 billion for spending on programs to improve forest conditions on the national forests and grasslands. This provision includes funding for hazardous fuels reduction, vegetation and watershed management, protecting old growth forests, and timely processing of environmental reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Subtitle D, section 23002: $550 million for competitive grants to non-Federal forest landowners, mostly under the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act of 1978, to help sustain healthy and resilient working forests. The funding prioritizes underserved and small forest landowners in carrying out climate mitigation and forest resilience efforts.
  • Subtitle D, section 23003: $2.2 billion available for the Forest Service’s State and Private Forestry programs for the Forest Service’s Urban and Community Forestry Program to assist programs to plant trees and related activities. The provision prioritizes projects that benefit underserved populations and areas. It also provides funding for competitive grants to States through the Forest Legacy Program to acquire land and interests in land for conservation.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Approximately $20 billion of Inflation Reduction Act funds will support USDA’s conservation programs within the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This includes:

  • $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program
  • $4.95 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program
  • $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program
  • $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program
  • $1 billion for the Conservation Technical Assistance Program

These are oversubscribed programs that are well known to farmers and ranchers. This additional investment will help farmers and ranchers implement expanded conservation practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase storage of carbon in their soil and trees.

Rural Development

In August, Congress passed the Biden-Harris Administration’s historic legislative package known as the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to reduce energy costs for families and create thousands of good-paying jobs for people across rural America. IRA represents the largest single investment in rural electrification since the passage of the Rural Electrification Act in 1936. Sections 22001 through 22005 of IRA provide new loan and grant products and unprecedented incentives to expand clean energy, transform rural power production, create jobs, and spur economic growth to be offered by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and Rural Business and Cooperative Service (RBCS).

The Act provides funding to USDA Rural Development to help eligible entities purchase renewable energy and zero-emission systems and make energy-efficiency improvements that will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For example, it provides:

  • Section 22001: Up to $1 billion for RUS loans for renewable energy infrastructure. The Act requires the agency to forgive up to 50% of the loan amount. Eligible entities include electric service providers, including municipals, cooperatives, investor-owned and Tribal utilities.
  • Section 22002: Up to $2.025 billion for the RBCS Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), with $303 million set aside for underutilized technologies and technical assistance. Funds are anticipated to support renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects for more than 41,500 farms and small businesses.
  • Section 22003: Up to $500 million in RBCS grants for infrastructure improvements to blend, store or distribute biofuels. This includes installing, retrofitting or upgrading dispensers for ethanol at retail stations as well as home heating oil distribution centers.
  • Section 22004: Up to $9.7 billion for RUS to offer loans, grants, loan modifications and other financial assistance to support the purchase of renewable energy systems, zero-emission systems and carbon capture systems. Funding also may be used to deploy these systems or to make energy-efficiency improvements to generation and transmission systems of eligible entities.
Federal Register Notice and Opportunity to Provide Written Comments

On October 28, 2022, USDA Rural Development’s Rural Business and Cooperatives Service and Rural Utilities Service published a Notice in the Federal Register announcing IRA listening sessions and providing an opportunity for interested parties to provide written comments and suggestions to the agency regarding implementation of Sections 22001-22005 of the Act. Submissions are due November 28, 2022.