CDFA’s HSP Request for Applications expected to be released

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is expecting to release the Request for Grant Applications this month for the $7.5 million Healthy Soils Program (HSP). The tentative due date is scheduled for August 2017 with grant awards being announced in November.

The Healthy Soils Program offers grants to farmers who take action to capture greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as carbon dioxide, in the soil to help combat climate change. The program is part of California’s cap-and-trade California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment—particularly in disadvantaged communities. The cap-and-trade program also creates a financial incentive for industries to invest in clean technologies and develop innovative ways to reduce pollution.

The Healthy Soils Program will be implemented under two separate components: 1) the Incentives Program and 2) the Demonstration Projects.

Incentives Program ($50,000 maximum; $3.75 million available): Grant funding will be awarded to provide financial assistance for implementation of agricultural management practices that sequester soil carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Eligible recipients include California farmers and ranchers. Projects must be located in California and result in GHG reductions from agricultural practices for a specified time period, quantifiable using a method determined by the Air Resources Board (ARB). The applicant will need to submit an Assessor’s Parcel Number (APN)-specific detailed schematics of field operations, location of practices and operations; a plan for three (or more) years of implementation; COMET-Planner GHG emissions reduction data; soil data on each APN; a conservation plan prepared by a Natural Resources Conversation Specialist (NRCS), an NRCS-trained individual entity or a professional agronomist, and; other documents.

Project Duration: The project must be implemented and maintained for 3 years. The expected life of practice is three years for soil management practices and ten years for the establishment of woody cover.

Matching Funds: Year 1 and 2 are funded by program dollars (matching funds are encouraged) and Year 3 must be funded by matching funds.

Demonstration Projects ($250,000 per project maximum; $3 million available): Grant funding will be awarded to projects that monitor and demonstrate to farmers and ranchers in California, specific management practices in agriculture that sequester carbon, improve soil health and reduce atmospheric GHGs. Eligible recipients for the Demonstration Projects include: not-for-profit entities, University Cooperative Extension Services, Federal and University Experiment Stations, Growers in partnership with Resource Conservation District’s (RCD) or one of the aforementioned entities. Partnerships must include an actual farm (privately or university owned) to fulfill the demonstration requirement, and collaborations with research organizations are encouraged. Program requirements for the Demonstration Projects include:

  • Awarded projects must demonstrate one of the “soil” incentivized practices over two years with a third year as matching funds (i.e. project term: 3 years total).
  • The project must:
    • Include at least one of the soil management practices;
    • Have a control treatment (e.g. current management practice as a comparison);
    • Have a minimum of three replicates;
    • Be conducted in the same field for the 3 years.
  • Awarded projects must measure soil organic matter and GHG emissions to quantify benefits over the three years of implementation.
  • Outreach: Awarded projects must invite at least 200 other growers per year to the site to showcase and share information on practices.

Project Duration: The project must be implemented and maintained for 3 years.

Matching funds: Matching funds are encouraged for Years 1 and 2, required for Year 3.

Management practices for both the Incentives Program and the Demonstration Projects include:

  1. Cropland Management: Mulching, no-till, reduced-till, cover crops, cropland compost, grassland compost;
  2. Herbaceous Cover: Herbaceous wind barriers, vegetative barriers, riparian herbaceous cover, contour buffer strips, field border, field strip;
  3. Woody Cover: windbreak/shelterbelt establishment, riparian forest buffer, hedgerow planting, silvopasture.

For more information on this grant or how to apply with Morrison's assistance, please contact the Morrison Grants Team by email at or call us at 530.893.4764.


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