Record Investment in Private Lands Conservation

Dan Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Wetland Reserve Easements (ACEP-WRE), Conservation, Environment, Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), USDA-NRCS

private lands conservation

It was announced Tuesday that the Biden Administration made record investments in private lands conservation in fiscal year 2023. This was all through resources made available by the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), with the largest investment in climate action. 

In fiscal year 2023, USDA supported more than 45,000 conservation contracts, more than any year in the 89-year history of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), totaling over $2.8 billion in financial assistance to producers for conservation efforts. NRCS also released updated state-by-state data showing where investments went in for?resources provided under both the?Farm Bill and Inflation Reduction Act. 

private lands conservation

“The successes of our first year of implementing the Inflation Reduction Act has set us up well for moving forward in 2024 and beyond,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. “Thanks to the President’s Investing in America agenda, NRCS increased the agency’s capacity, streamlined our programs and processes, built partnerships, and expanded opportunities to access new conservation funding while continuing to provide America’s farmers, ranchers and forest landowners with conservation assistance through the Farm Bill. It’s clear that we’ve done that successfully this past year, and producer demand for this assistance remains strong.” ?


Unprecedented demand for conservation from farmers and ranchers was found, with applications outpacing available funding. Even with the additional IRA funding, NRCS had significant unmet producer demand for conservation through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). Plus, NRCS received $2.2 billion in Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) proposals in fiscal year 2023 but was only able to fund half of the projects

A total of $19.5 billion from the IRA is available over several years for climate-smart agriculture and forestry mitigation activities, including through NRCS conservation programs – EQIP, ACEP, RCPP and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). Implementation began in fiscal year 2023, when NRCS made $850 million available in financial and technical assistance through the IRA. In fiscal year 2024, NRCS is making over $3 billion available?from the IRA in addition to the $2 billion in Farm Bill funding. 

To learn more about these programs, contact NRCS at your local USDA Service Center.?