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Healthy Soils Program Open to Applications; Contact Your State Legislator to Support an Organic Transition Option

by Jane Sooby |

Healthy Soils Program Requests for Applications Released

Acknowledging the many benefits of improved soil quality, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) initiated the Healthy Soils Program in 2017, which offers grants to farmers and ranchers to implement new soil-building practices on their land.

CDFA recently opened the Healthy Soils Program for 2020 applications. Applications for the Incentives Program will be accepted on a rolling basis until 5 p.m. PT on June 26, 2020, or until available funds are expended, whichever comes first. Applications for Demonstration Projects are due by 5 p.m. PT on April 23, 2020.  

CDFA has enlisted the help of technical assistance providers (TAPs) throughout the state to provide hands-on application support. Many of these TAPs are holding workshops in coming days to guide applicants through the process. A list of TAPs and their scheduled workshops is posted online.

In addition, CDFA will hold a no-cost workshop to provide information on incentive program requirements and application process on March 16, 2020, from 1-2:30 p.m., and on demosntration projects from 2:30-4 p.m., at the Monterey County Agricultural Commissioner Office, Conference Room, 1428 Abbott St., Salinas, Ca. Attendees are requested to register in advance:

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is also hosting a Healthy Soils and Cover Crops Field Day Meridian, CA March 17, 2020 ~ 8:30-11:00am. Follow this link for more details.

CCOF Working to Add an Organic Transition Option to Healthy Soils

CCOF’s Policy Team has supported the Healthy Soils Program from its earliest days and has submitted public comments calling for Healthy Soils to acknowledge the soil-building benefits of organic farming. CCOF has also joined with other advocacy groups in calling for increased funding for the Healthy Soils Program. This year, Healthy Soils has a $28 million budget.

CCOF’s new Policy Report recommends that the Healthy Soils Program add an Organic Transition Option that would offer a stipend to farmers and ranchers to complete an Organic System Plan in addition to funding them to implement new conservation practices during the 3-year period of the Healthy Soils grant. 

Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-77) is circulating a “dear colleague” letter addressed to CDFA requesting the Organic Transition Option be included in Healthy Soils. We ask CCOF members to reach out to their state representatives and encourage them to sign on to Assemblymember Maienschein’s letter. Click here for information on how to find out who represents you in the state Assembly and Senate and how to contact them. The request is simple: “please sign Assemblymember Maienschein’s letter asking for an Organic Transition Option in the Healthy Soils Program.”

For additional information, contact CCOF Advocacy Coordinator Noah Lakritz, phone (831) 346-6223.