The Healthy Soils Program Benefits Organic Producers!

Posted on Thursday, March 26th, 2020 by
Photo credit: Lauren Lum

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) provides grants, capped at $100,000, for over 25 practices that boost soil health.  Eligible practices include cover crops, compost application, prescribed grazing, planting of hedgerows, mulch, reduced tillage, and more. For the full list of eligible practices, see the CDFA Request for Grant Applications.

The Healthy Soils Program has been streamlined and it’s now easier and less time-consuming to apply. There is a record amount of funding this year—a total of more than $25 million— and we expect a drop in funding next year so it’s a good time to apply. Have you been wondering if you’re eligible for the Healthy Soils Program? Check out this FAQ for Organic Producers.

Grant applications are due on June 26th on a first-come, first-serve basis and there are many technical assistance providers throughout the state who can support you with the application and implementation of the practices. See the list of technical assistance providers in your region.


Healthy Soils Program grants in action on organic farms

The Healthy Soils Program has been supporting organic producers across the state. Below are some examples of how CCOF members have benefited from the grant program:

Matthiasson Klein Farming, Napa County

Jill Klein Matthiasson and her husband Steve have been farming since 2004 in Napa. They grow wine grapes, olives and tree fruits. With the help of a Healthy Soils Program grant, they received $31,445 to apply compost, plant cover crops and establish a hedgerow to provide habitat for wildlife and beneficial insects. To learn more, check out the CalCAN profile.


McGinnis Ranch, Monterey County

Sandi McGinnis-Garcia grew up in Watsonville on the family farm. She and her niece Sara run and operate the farm where they grow mixed vegetables, flowers, strawberries and cane berries. They farm on sandy soils and were interested in the Healthy Soils Program as a way to build organic matter, and increase water and nutrient holding capacity. They received $12,577 for compost, cover crops and to plant a hedgerow for a windbreak. To learn more, check out the CalCAN profile.


Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians, San Diego County

The Pauma Band have avocados and citrus, vegetables and an olive orchard. The tribe received a Healthy Soils grant of $100,000 for reduced tillage and planting of cover crops in a newly established olive orchard. They are working with UC Riverside to study the effects of no-till combined with cover crops as a means to sequester carbon. To learn more, check out the CalCAN profile.


The Healthy Soils Program has more funding than ever before with $25 million available and you can apply for up to $100,000 for multiple practices. The program can help you to expand the practices you are already doing and implement them on new fields or try out a new practice. To learn more about the program, visit CDFA’s Healthy Soils Program website.

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