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Wild Farm Alliance Offers Hands-On Help to Apply for Healthy Soils Funding

by Guest Blogger |

If you are considering implementing new practices on your farm to promote healthy soils and build resilience, you might be eligible for up to $75,000 in cost-share grants. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)’s Climate Smart Agriculture Program is allocating $15 million for Healthy Soils grants for the coming year. Applications are due March 8, 2019

Help with Paperwork

Free assistance with planning and completing the grant application is available. Wild Farm Alliance will assist growers who contact them at Together with EcoFarm representatives and others, Wild Farm Alliance staff will be at the 39th Annual EcoFarm Conference to discuss your ideas, answer questions, and start on the paperwork.

You can also get free help with project design, timeline, budget, and estimation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions, and other co-benefits (such as pollinator habitat improvements) needed for the application. 

Multiple Options Mean Your Organic Farm Is Likely Eligible

You can select from 25+ eligible Healthy Soils Program (HSP) practices to be implemented on fields where they have not been used previously. Besides storing carbon below ground and reducing GHG emissions, the HSP also supports storage of carbon above ground with windbreaks, hedgerows, riparian restoration, or other conservation plantings. 

Some of the most popular practices are hedgerows ($8.58/foot), cover crops ($126/acre), compost ($50/dry ton), mulching ($386/acre), and conservation tillage ($32/acre). Prescribed grazing on pasture ($22/acre) is now eligible. 

Organic farmers and ranchers, who are already required to maintain or improve natural resources and biodiversity, can benefit from this program even if they already use compost and cover crops on their fields by applying for some of the other practices. 

Cost Sharing Can Give You a Better Chance at Funding

Cost sharing can be in the form of in-kind contributions or matching funds. An in-kind contribution is the estimated dollar value of any time, property, or supplies donated to a project, including costs associated with labor for work involved in the implementation of the proposed project. Matching funds refers to a dollar amount committed to a project from a source other than the HSP. Those who provide cost sharing may receive additional consideration during the project review.

Two other CDFA Climate Smart Agriculture Programs support farmers and ranchers:

Alternative Manure Management Program (AMMP)

State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP)


Shelly Connor is assistant director of the Wild Farm Alliance, an organization that works to empower farmers, connect consumers, and protect wild nature.