Durbin Visits Local Farm To Discuss Impact Of Inflation Reduction Act On Illinois Agriculture Industry

$40 Billion in New Incentives for Farmers and Rural Households

CARBONDALE – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today visited a local farm to discuss the impacts of the Inflation Reduction Act on the Illinois agriculture industry.

“Illinois’ agriculture industry is not immune to climate change, with droughts in some parts of the state and flooding in others,” said Durbin. “These weather changes are not exclusive to Illinois–they’re a global issue.  Congress designed the Inflation Reduction Act to help farmers by providing a historic $40 billion investment in voluntary incentives for our nation’s agriculture industry.  More customers, and more agribusinesses, at home and globally, want climate-smart crops, and I want Illinois to be their first choice because it means additional markets for Illinois agriculture and additional revenues for farmers.  Our farmers who are ahead of the game, and our farms that invest in these new practices early, will strengthen their competitive advantage well into the future.”

Over the last century, the Illinois growing season has lengthened by about two weeks while the climate has become 10 percent wetter—changes that are expected to continue in the coming decades. Illinois now experiences more extreme rainfall events followed by more dry spells. These can lead to planting delays, soil compaction, nutrient losses, and the need for replanting. Illinois is also experiencing greater humidity, which promotes plant diseases, pests, and fungus.

The Inflation Reduction Act includes:

  1. $20 billion for climate-smart farming conservation programs that farmers already utilize—but are underfunded with demand far exceeding available funds
  1. Nearly $10 billion to help rural electric cooperatives invest in more clean/renewable electricity generation, which will help coops meet climate goals while expanding affordable clean energy to more rural households
  1. $2 billion to increase USDA grants that can help rural small businesses and farming operations make important and affordable clean energy upgrades to their operations, including solar, wind, and energy efficiency
  1. $500 million for ethanol and biodiesel storage and dispensing, so that more drivers have a choice instead of just gasoline at the pump. Choices mean more competition in fuels, and that reduces our dependence on foreign oil.
  1. Expanded tax credits for biofuels which will spur them to become even lower carbon than they already are—and helps expand the use of biofuels beyond only cars and trucks to future aircraft fuels  

The funds from the Inflation Reduction Act will provide farmers with incentives to improve conservation practices that can cut expenses like fertilizer applications while adopting carbon reduction practices such as expanding cover crops and reducing nitrogen runoff—all of which will increase the value of corn and soybeans in future markets. Illinois USDA will expand the following programs: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), and Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). More information on those programs can be found here.