2021 Healthy Soils Program Now Open
The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has is now accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program (HSP). HSP has two components: the HSP Incentives Program (applications will be accepted on a rolling basis) and HSP Demonstration Projects. CDFA was appropriated $50 million from the California State Budget and $25 million from the California Climate Investments authorized by the Budget Act of 2021. The maximum grant award is $100,000 for Incentives Program and $100,000 to $250,000 for Demonstration Projects.
HSP INCENTIVES PROGRAM
What is the HSP Incentives Program? The HSP Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improve soil health. GHGs benefits are estimated using quantification methodology and tools developed by California Air Resources Board (CARB), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) and CDFA and soil health improvement will be assessed by measuring soil organic matter content.
Who is eligible for this program? California farmers and ranchers, as well as federal and California-recognized Native American Tribes are eligible to apply.
- Individuals or business entities receiving grant award funds must be located in California
- Projects must be located on a California agricultural operation.
- Awards are limited to one per agricultural operation using a unique tax identification number per round of funding.
- All projects must implement at least one of the eligible agricultural management practices on fields where said practice was not implemented previously.
- Practices must be implemented on the same total acreage throughout the term of the grant agreement as proposed in the application and memorialized in the grant agreement. Decrease in acreage of practice implementation and quantified GHG reductions in the project after signature by Recipient and execution of grant agreement may result in elimination of that practice from the project and subsequent reduction of project budget.
- Projects must result in net GHG benefits (i.e., net positive GHG reductions) from specific eligible agricultural management practices.
- Applicants must provide past three years’ baseline data on cropping and management histories directly related to fields identified by APNs where eligible agricultural management practices are proposed for implementation to be eligible for funding.
- Applicants must lease, own or otherwise control the fields and APNs where project activities are proposed to occur for the entirety of the project duration.
Which specific soil management practices are eligible for funding? Eligible practices are categorized based on agricultural systems where they can be implemented and are divided into the following three categories: cropland, orchard or vineyard, and grazing land. Eligible practices include but are not limited to: cover cropping, no-till, reduced-till, mulching, compost application, and conservation plantings. The eligible management practices are detailed in the Draft Request for Grant Applications.
What is the funding level and cost-sharing requirement? The HSP Incentives maximum grant award is $100,000. Cost sharing (matching funds or in-kind contributions) is not required but encouraged.
What is the deadline for the HSP Incentives Program? The HSP Incentives Program will accept applications on a rolling basis with a deadline of February 25, 2021 or until available funds are expended, whichever is earlier.
You can read the HSP Incentive Program’s draft Request for Grant Applications here.
HSP DEMONSTRATION PROJECTS
Type A projects are required to (a) implement the selected eligible agricultural management practice(s), (b) collect data on field measurements of GHG emissions, and (c) collect co-benefit data including benefits to soil health and environmental water and air quality data to address knowledge gaps regarding implementation of practices identified as “Practices for Demonstration and Data Collection”. In addition, the project must conduct outreach and education to other farmers and ranchers on the benefits of these practices to agricultural and environmental sustainability.
- Type B projects are required to implement the selected eligible agricultural management practice(s) and conduct outreach to other farmers and ranchers at the on-farm demonstration sites on the benefits of these practices to agricultural and environmental sustainability.
Who is eligible for this program? Not-for-profits, University Cooperative Extension, federal and university experiment stations, city and community colleges, Resource Conservation Districts, federal and California-recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and farmers and ranchers in partnership with these entities are eligible to apply.
A project must include at least one farm (private agricultural operation, university/government owned farm or city community garden) to fulfill demonstration requirements.
- CDFA will award a maximum of two applications submitted by the same applicant, but each application should be for a unique project.
- Entities receiving grant award funds must be located in California.
- There is no limit to the number of applications which a single organization can be a collaborator.
- More than one farm may be included in a single application; however, the same farms cannot be listed on multiple applications.
- Applicants must lease, own or otherwise control the fields and Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN) where project activities are proposed to occur for the entirety of the project duration.
- If selected for an award, applicants must be able to execute a grant agreement within 30 days of receiving a notice of award.
Which specific soil management practices are eligible for funding? Eligible practices are categorized based on agricultural systems where they can be implemented and are divided into the following three categories: cropland, orchard or vineyard, and grazing land. Eligible practices include but are not limited to: cover cropping, no-till, reduced-till, mulching, compost application, and conservation plantings. The eligible management practices are detailed in the draft Request for Grant Applications.
What is the project duration? For practices that involve planting of woody cover (trees shrubs), the maximum grant duration is 10 years. All other practices, the maximum grant duration is three years.
What is the funding level and cost-sharing requirement? Demonstration Projects grant amounts cannot exceed $250,000 for Type A projects and $100,000 for Type B projects. Cost sharing (matching funds or in-kind contributions) is not required but may receive additional consideration.
What is the deadline for HSP Demonstration Projects? Applications are December 31, 2021 at 5:00pm PT.
HSP Demonstration Project’s full Request for Grant Applications can be found here.
For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison’s assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 530-893-4764.