WASHINGTON, DC – Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman on Thursday sent a letter to Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and Sen. John Boozman, Ranking Member of the Committee, detailing his opposition to the use of Inflation Reduction Act funding for Farm Bill conservation efforts.
“I strongly oppose any measures that would essentially cannibalize Inflation Reduction Act conservation funding in order to pay for the Farm Bill conservation efforts,” writes Sen. Fetterman. “The bottom line is that to both support our nation’s agricultural producers and mitigate climate change, we must maintain the Inflation Reduction Act programs and include separate robust agriculture conservation funding in the upcoming Farm Bill. For our farmers and our climate, we can and must do both.”
The full letter, which is supported by multiple Pennsylvania-based environmental and farming-focused groups, can be found here.
Sen. Fetterman opposes any effort to move Inflation Reduction Act funding away from its original purpose to be used for Farm Bill conservation efforts. Farmers in Pennsylvania support funding for voluntary conservation programs.
“In 2019, partners across Pennsylvania working on the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Plan found that for Pennsylvania to meet its clean-up obligations for the Chesapeake Bay, the state would need to spend an additional $360 million per year,” said Hannah Smith-Brubaker, Executive Director of Pasa Sustainable Agriculture. “We also found that a lack of funding was the single largest factor in not meeting our obligations. Unless those who want to rescind the intended use of the $20B in Inflation Reduction Act funds for conservation want farmers themselves to pay for it out of their own pockets, these public funds need to be used as intended: helping landowners reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads to the Bay and to our own creeks and streams, for the benefit of everyone. Pennsylvania’s IRA funds for conservation are going to make a vital difference toward a critical issue, and we need to keep it that way.”
“The majority of Pennsylvania’s farmers want to be good stewards of the environment and keep streams clean,” said PennFuture President and CEO Patrick McDonnell. “Our continued support for Pennsylvania’s farmers helps modernize farming practices and keep agriculture lands in productive use. We cannot take away critical conservation programs that we know will successfully sustain our vital agricultural industry.”