Healthy Soils Program: $12M in Grant Funding for CA Farms

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the Healthy Soils Program Incentives Grants (HSP). Approximately $12 million is available to projects, with up to $100,000 per project. The requirements, funding levels, and application deadlines for the program are detailed below.

What is the HSP Incentives Program? The HSP Incentives Program provides financial incentives to California growers and ranchers to implement conservation management practices that improve soil health, sequester carbon, and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs). 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, ranchers, agricultural business entities, and California Native Americans, are eligible to apply.
  • Nonprofit organizations as agriculture operations are eligible to apply.
  • Grant Recipients must be at least 18 years old.
  • Cannabis cultivation operations are not eligible to apply.
  • Hemp cultivation operations are eligible to apply.
  • Previous HSP Grant Recipients are not eligible to receive funds for implementing the same practice on the same field funded previously. However, a new landowner or lessee is eligible to implement the same practice on the same field previously funded.

What are the requirements for this program? The requirements for this program include:

  • Projects must be located on a California agricultural operation. All entities receiving grant funds must have a physical California business address.
  • 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.
  • 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: alley cropping, compost application, cover cropping, no-till, reduced-till, mulching, and conservation plantings. The eligible management practices are detailed in the Request for Grant Applications.

What kinds of projects are not eligible for funding?

  • Grant funds cannot be used for projects that use potted plants and plant growth media other than soil.
  • Grant funds cannot be used for research and product development activities.

What is the project duration?  The grant term is three years. All activities must occur within the grant term. Costs incurred outside of the grant term will not be reimbursed.

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 until 5 p.m. PT on February 9, 2024.

HSP Incentive Program’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 grants@morrisonco.net or call us at 530-893-4764.

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