The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected for award a total of 20 Demonstration Projects requesting nearly $3 million in funding support. The projects are part of the Healthy Soils Program (HSP) and are designed to improve soil health, sequester carbon and help reduce greenhouse gases (GHG). The on-farm projects will collect data and showcase conservation management practices to help promote more widespread adoption throughout California.
“Soil health is key to agricultural productivity and food security, and capturing atmospheric carbon and storing it in the soil is an opportunity for long-term carbon storage in addition to reducing GHG emissions,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a news release. “These demonstration projects help get the word out to the farming community that these practices do work. These science-based projects will help improve the quantification benefits of carbon sequestration on the land.”
A multitude of agencies, institutions, and industry groups have been approved for a variety of Demonstration Projects. The applicants include several Resource Conservation Districts, the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Santa Rosa Junior College, and UC Davis. The award recipients are based in areas throughout California and will be implementing practices in grazing lands, orchards, and annual cropland. Some of the practices that will be demonstrated as part of the Demonstration Projects include cover cropping, compost application, nutrient management, alley cropping, and hedgerow implementation.
The conservation management practices that will be demonstrated by the various groups will highlight the value of increasing soil health and mitigating GHG emissions. A total of 39 applications had been submitted to CDFA, requesting nearly $6 million in funding support. Oversubscription reportedly remains high at nearly 200 percent for the HSP Demonstration Projects. The HSP was established as part of the California Healthy Soils Initiative and is funded through California Climate Investments.