The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced that 217 projects have been selected to receive healthy soils grants. Collectively, the projects will be receiving $12.48 million through CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program (HSP) which encourages industry members to implement more sustainable practices on their farms and ranches. The funding for the program is distributed between direct farmer incentives as well as on-farm demonstration projects.
“California leads the nation in supporting innovative climate-smart agriculture programs that address on-farm challenges and promote agricultural and environmental sustainability,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release. “Soil health is key to agricultural productivity and food security. Capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it in the soil enhances soil health for climate change and other benefits such as nutrient, water and dust management.”
A total of 194 projects dispersed throughout 45 counties will be receiving $8.7 million in funding through the HSP Incentives Program. CDFA received a total of 222 applications seeking funding through the HSP Incentives Program, requesting nearly $10 million. CDFA selected 23 projects across 16 counties to receive $3.8 in funding through the HSP Demonstration Projects program. A little more than $5 million had been requested in a total of 30 applications submitted for the HSP Demonstration Projects. Each of the programs helps to promote broader interest and implementation of management practices to improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gases and sequester carbon in the soil. Projects that have been selected to receive healthy soils grants span the entire state, with projects in coastal, valley and foothill counties.
HSP was established as part of the California Healthy Soils Initiative, which is a collaborative effort of multiple state agencies to help advance methods for increasing the health of soils in California. The program is funded through the California Climate Investments and the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access For All Act of 2018.