CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program Accepting Applications – Due April 13, 2018

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is now accepting applications for the Second Solicitation of the Healthy Soils Program (HSP) which is part of California’s cap-and-trade California Climate Investments. The objectives of the HSP are to build soil organic carbon and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases (GHGs) by (1) providing financial incentives to California growers and ranchers for agricultural management practices that sequester carbon, reduce atmospheric GHGs and improve soil health, (2) funding on-farm demonstration projects that showcase conservation management practices that mitigate GHG emissions and increase soil health, and (3) creating a platform promoting widespread adoption of conservation management practices throughout the state. The awards will be announced and project implementation will begin in May 2018.

Management practices for the HSP include:

· Soil Management Practices:

a. Cropland Management: cover crop, mulching, residue and tillage management (no-till), residue and tillage management (reduced till);

b. Compost Application Practices: compost application to annual crops; compost application to perennials, orchards, and vineyards, and; compost application to grassland.

· Cropland to Herbaceous Cover: contour buffer strips, field border, filter strip, herbaceous wind barrier, riparian herbaceous cover, vegetative barriers.

· Establishment of Woody Cover Practices:

a. Wood Plantings Practices: hedgerow planting, riparian forest buffer, windbreak/shelterbelt establishment;

b. Grazing Lands Practices: silvopasture.

The Healthy Soils Program has two components: 1) the HSP Incentives Program and 2) the HSP Demonstration Projects.

HSP Incentives Program ($50,000 maximum grant award; $1.6 million available): Eligible recipients include California farmers, ranchers, and Federal and California Recognized Native American Indian Tribes. Projects must be located on a California agricultural operation and must result in net GHG benefits (i.e., net positive GHG reductions) from specific eligible agricultural management practices. The applicant must provide: baseline data on cropping and management histories directly related to fields identified by Assessor’s Parcel Numbers (APNs) where eligible management practices are proposed for implementation; a plan for three (or more) years of implementation; Compost-Planner Carbon Sequestration and GHG Estimation Report or COMET-Planner Carbon Sequestration and GHG Estimation Report (project specific); and; other documents. Providing a Conservation Plan is optional, however, applications that include a qualified conservation plan with the application will receive additional points during review.

Project Duration: The grant term is from May 1, 2018 – December 31, 2020.

Matching funds: Cost sharing (matching funds or in-kind contributions) must be contributed for approximately one third of the anticipated costs and must be expended between January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

The full HSP Incentives Program Request for Grant Applications can be found here.

HSP Demonstration Projects ($100,000 maximum grant award; $500,000 available): Eligible recipients for the Demonstration Projects include: not-for-profit entities, University Cooperative Extension Services, Federal and University Experiment Stations, Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs), Federal and California Recognized Native American Indian Tribes, and, farmers and ranchers in partnership with one of the aforementioned entities.

Program requirements for the Demonstration Projects include:

· A project must include at least one farm (privately or university/government owned) to fulfill demonstration requirements

· Projects must result in net positive GHG benefits from specific eligible agricultural management practices identified in the solicitation for the grant agreement term

· CDFA will award a maximum of two applications submitted by the same applicant, but each application should be for a unique project

· 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 Assessor’s Parcel Numbers (APNs) where project activities are proposed to occur for the entirety of the project duration

· If selected for funding, applicants must be able to execute a grant agreement within 30 days of receiving a notice of award

Project Duration: The grant term is from May 1, 2018 – December 31, 2020.

Matching funds: Cost sharing (matching funds or in-kind contributions) must be contributed for approximately one third of the anticipated costs and must be expended between January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2020.

The full HSP Demonstration Projects 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 at530-893-4764.

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