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GRAPHIC: Eastern and northeastern states have been the most successful in their applications for USDA’s conservation programs

The Conservation Stewardship Program helps farmers build a customized plan to meet their conservation goals and needs. photo from USDA

Conservation programs that provide federal money to farmers for climate solutions have been underfunded over the past four years. 

During this period, only three out of 10 landowner applications for the two main programs, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), received funding between 2018 and 2022, according to Investigate Midwest’s analysis of application and funding data the USDA provided The Gazette.

The federal government allocated $8.33 billion, of which $6.23 billion went to the EQIP program and $2.11 billion to the CSP over this period. In both programs, applications from states in the northeastern and eastern regions achieved the highest approval rates, as a percentage of the total applications submitted.

The Biden administration has identified these USDA conservation programs as the centerpiece of the country’s climate strategy. In August 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, allocating an additional $8.45 billion for the EQIP and an additional $3.25 billion for the CSP. These funds are slated for distribution from the current year through fiscal 2026.

This article first appeared on Investigate Midwest and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.

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