In 2020, Network members collectively engaged over 380 farmers in advancing soil health policies. They developed materials and held trainings for producers on policy advocacy and gathered input from farmers and their communities to better understand their priorities for healthy soils policies. Members and their farmer partners met with over 100 policymakers personally in hearings and individual meetings to communicate the importance of soil health, and hundreds through reports, written comments, and public testimony.
The following describes the range of farmer engagement activities in nine member states.
NOFA-Massachusetts mobilized 21 farmers to travel to the state capitol to advocate strongly for creation of a Massachusetts Healthy Soils Program, holding a briefing that educated almost 20% of the state legislature on the value of healthy soils.
Land Stewardship Project in Minnesota built the foundation for their new Soil Health and Climate Campaign, engaged producers in giving testimony to the state Climate Committee, and began transforming the dominant narrative by amplifying farmers’ voices about climate change.
Center for Rural Affairs in Iowa built support among farmers and local governments for a Healthy Soils Trust Fund which the Governor has proposed funding with an addition in state sales tax.
Oregon Climate Action Network’s mobilization of farmers around a statewide Cap-and-Invest climate bill led to an Executive Order by the Governor which includes a mandate for agricultural soil carbon sequestration.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance launched a Soil Health Caucus of 40 regenerative farmers, began building knowledge among the Caucus members in how to share their stories with communities, media, and legislators, and engaged Caucus members to speak in their annual tour across the state.
Northern Plains Resource Council in Montana recruited several farmers and ranchers to serve on their Soil Health Committee, and succeeded in bringing farmers’ knowledge around soil health and drought to agricultural stakeholders, state agencies, and the Governor’s office.
NOFA-Vermont, Rural Vermont, and Vermont Healthy Soils Coalition brought their expertise, as well as numerous farmer voices to the state’s nascent Payments for Ecosystem Services program through public comments, verbal testimony, and farmer feedback.
NOFA-NY held two workshops at their annual conference. The Action Plan for Soil Health workshop was aimed at developing an action plan to pass NY state legislation for soil health. From Your Town to Congress workshop was on effective lobbying.
National Young Farmers Coalition of Colorado and partners in the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils, held multiple listening sessions across the state, gathering information on farmer practices, challenges and barriers that will be used to craft regionally appropriate recommendations on soil health policy.