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Unprecedented Investments in Wisconsin Climate-Smart Ag, Rural Communities
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 03/22/2023

Tuesday, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) and State Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Agard joined agriculture and climate leaders to highlight major federal investments in climate-smart agriculture and renewable energy for Wisconsin’s rural communities.

Thanks to Representative Pocan, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and President Biden’s work to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Wisconsin’s agricultural producers and rural communities will have the resources they need to be part of the climate solution while boosting their economic potential. Included in the IRA was nearly $20 billion for farms to help expand already existing conservation programs along with another $14 billion to support clean energy development in rural communities.

“Democrats put the future of our planet first when we passed the Inflation Reduction Act last year,” said Rep. Pocan. “The critical investment in climate-smart agriculture will energize our rural economies, improve Wisconsin’s climate resilience, and ensure that our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters are part of the solution to climate change.”

State Senator Agard also emphasized how important federal investment is to Wisconsin’s economy.

“Wisconsin is one of the top ten food-producing states in the country and agriculture is part of our way of life. These resources are aimed at helping our next generation of rural communities succeed and thrive,” said State Sen. Agard. “Our state’s 64,000 farms are going to benefit greatly thanks to these federal investments.”

America’s farmers and ranchers have endured some of the most significant and costly impacts of climate change and have a profound economic interest in addressing the climate crisis.

“These federal investments address the critical need to build climate resilience for Wisconsin farmers and allow us to be a part of the climate solution,” said Darin Von Ruden, president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Climate-smart ag practices will build soil health, sequester carbon, and cut climate pollution, while also improving surface and groundwater quality, increasing water efficiency, building resilience to drought and flood, creating habitat for fish and wildlife, and protecting agricultural lands for future generations.

“Agriculture accounts for 11% of climate pollution in the U.S. At the same time, farmers are bearing the direct economic impacts from climate change,” said Chelsea Chandler of Clean Wisconsin. “With so much influence and so much at stake, farmers must be key champions for solutions. These investments will help farmers lead in shaping healthy and vibrant rural economies.”

In addition to touting the tangible benefits realized in the law, speakers urged federal leaders to not only reject efforts to scale back investments in climate, but to further expand on them in order to reduce carbon pollution to the levels scientists say are necessary to mitigate the dire effects of climate change.

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