FALLBROOK – California’s much anticipated Healthy Soils program officially launched with the release of the first request for grant applications by the California Department of Agriculture. The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Sept. 19.
The first of its kind in the country, the program will provide grants to farmers and ranchers for implementing on-farm practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions or store carbon in soil, trees and shrubs. Many of these practices are backed by research which demonstrates their water-saving capacity. Types of practices that will be eligible include the addition of mulch and compost, cover cropping, reduced tillage and the planting of herbaceous and woody plants such as windbreaks, hedgerows, riparian plantings, filter strips and more.
Three types of grants will be available.
For direct farmer grants, incentives of up to $50,000 per farm or ranch are available for the implementation of one or more new soil and conservation management practices.
For outreach and education or demonstration grants, demonstration projects can be funded with grants of up to $100,000 for soil improvement practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase soil health and that also have an outreach and demonstration component to showcase the healthy soils practices and promote their widespread adoption throughout the state. These demonstrations will likely involve partnerships between producers and nonprofits, resource conservation districts or academic or extension departments.
For research and demonstration grants, demonstration projects can be funded with grants of up to $250,000. These projects are similar to the prior category of demonstration project, but in addition to outreach and education on healthy soils practices, these projects must include measurement and data collection on greenhouse gass emissions and carbon sequestration.
For more information about these grants and the program overall, contact Lance Andersen at Mission Resource Conservation District at (760) 728-1332.