Proposals are now being accepted for new soil carbon sequestration practices to be included in the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s Office of Environmental Farming and Innovation (OEFI), along with the agency’s Environmental Farming Act Science Advisory Panel will be accepting proposals through Friday, August 28.
“As the Healthy Soils Program continues to grow, new and innovative contributions from our stakeholders are critical to ensuring that farmers and ranchers have the diversity of practices they need to produce the wide range of highly nutritious, affordable and safe food crops,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a press release. “Improving soil health in California must be a collaborative effort between CDFA, stakeholder groups, sister agencies and federal partners.”
When submitting proposals for consideration of new practices to be included for funding under the HSP, several criteria will need to be met. Any practices that are propose cannot be proprietary, or require the use of exclusive products, materials, or equipment. Proposals much include peer-reviewed research which demonstrates the practice will be effective in improving soil health and providing emissions reductions or carbon sequestration. All proposals will go through a multi-step evaluation process involving academic experts along with state and federal agency subject matter experts.
The program currently includes 27 different management practices that have been proven to sequester carbon. Some of the acceptable practices include planting cover crops, applying compost, hedgerow planting, whole orchard recycling, and establishing windbreaks. The HSP is supported by the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a cooperative effort between state agencies to expand the development of healthy soils in California. The California Air Resources Board, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, has developed the method for quantifying how effective the management practices are in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.