California Growers Eligible for up to $50,000 under the New Healthy Soils Program


California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently launched their Healthy Soils Program that will provide up to $3.75 million in grants to California growers and ranchers.

Organic producers already use agricultural practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and improve soil health. This is a unique opportunity to secure funding if you are implementing new organic practices that have not been used in the past year or if you have   new or expanded organic acreage.

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What practices qualify for funding under the program?

Planting cover crops is just one of seventeen practices California producers can implement to be eligible for incentive grants under the program funded by cap-and-trade allowance revenue.

Practices that improve soil management include mulching, no-till or reduced till, cover crops, compost application.  At least one of these practices must be implemented for 3 years, or must already be in use and be maintained.

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Converting cropland to herbaceous cover include herbaceous wind barriers, field borders, vegetative barriers, filter strips, riparian cover and contour buffer strips. These practices must be in combination with at least one new or existing soil management practices and implemented for 3 years.

The establishment of woody cover includes the establishment of windbreak/shelterbelt, riparian forest buffers, hedgerow planting and silvopasture.

How much money is available?

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The grants are a maximum of $50,000 and only one application per farm is allowed. Cost shares or matching funds are allowed in the form of in-kind contributions (e.g., labor costs) and/or funds from other programs (e.g., NRCS EQIP).

What does a producer have to demonstrate?

Producers will be required to submit cropping and management practice history for the past three years for the parcels included in the project. Applicants will be required to verify to CDFA or a third-party verifier who conducts field evaluations no later than March 31, 2020 that they completed the terms of the grant agreement. GHG benefits of the projects will be evaluated on a per acre basis, so small farms have just as good a chance at getting funded as large ones!

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Don’t delay, apply now!

For incentives program application materials and a schedule of application assistance workshops and webinars click here. Or you can check out the frequently asked questions here.

The deadline for grant applications is September 19, 2017, 5:00 p.m. PDT and grant awards will be announced in December 2017.

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You already play a critical role by managing soils in a way that sequesters carbon and reduces greenhouse gases, now you can get paid for it! Don’t delay in applyi

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