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News Release

CDFA Announces Changes for Next Round of Healthy Soils Program Grants

Steve Lyle, Public Affairs Director-CDFA (916)-654-0462
Victor Hernandez, Acting Public Affairs Director-NRCS (530) 792-5628

SACRAMENTO, February 24, 2020 - CDFA is preparing to release grant solicitations for the next round of Healthy Soils Program projects. Approximately $25.2 million is available in this round.
There are several new programmatic changes that aim to make the application process easier, provide enhanced tools to assist with information required in the application, and achieve better alignment with USDA programs.
“These changes are critical to ensure we receive as many applications as possible,” said CDFA secretary Karen Ross. “We want to make sure our farmers and ranchers can participate in carbon sequestration and help establish agricultural sustainability into the future.”
To better align the Healthy Soils Program with USDA's EQIP program, the 2020 USDA Conservation Practice Standard Payment rates will be adopted. As a result, payment rates have increased for 11 practices and reduced for 16 practices. CDFA is currently initiating research work with scientists and economists to evaluate payment rates for each practice.

“The NRCS is delighted to partner with CDFA leadership to further soil health initiatives to better support California farmers and ranchers,” said USDA NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez. “The CDFA Healthy Soils Program supports NRCS’ Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which furthers the Soil Health initiative.”

Other changes include the following:

Technical Assistance – Thanks to the Strategic Growth Council, CDFA is funding $4.36 million to continue to build out its capacity to offer technical assistance. This technical assistance offered through non-profit organizations, resource conservation districts, and University of California Cooperative Extension Service is free to farmers and ranchers who might need help gathering required information to apply and assistance filling out online grant applications. Free technical assistance is also available to farmers and ranchers during project implementation and reporting. All designated providers of technical assistance will be posted on the CDFA Technical Assistance webpage.

Easier Electronic Application – The Healthy Soils Program team at CDFA has worked to reduce the number of questions in the electronic application. As a result, the new application is more streamlined. 
Rolling Application Period with First-Come Award Process – CDFA is introducing a rolling application period over four months on a first-come, first-serve basis until all funds are awarded. This will allow those applicants who are ready with projects to apply immediately and get their applications reviewed. Those who need additional time to plan their project will be allowed more time to review the application material and determine the best fit for their agricultural operations.
The Healthy Soils Program is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing GHG emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged communities. For more information, visit California Climate Investments.