The New Mexico Department of Agriculture will host two webinars in January to show potential applicants the steps to take to be considered for a grant to improve soil health in the state. NMDA will open its next Healthy Soil Program grant application period in March.
The webinar to prepare Eligible Entities to apply for a grant is Jan. 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. As defined in the 2019 Healthy Soil Act, Eligible Entities are “local governmental [entities] with proven land management capacity to support healthy soil” and include nations, tribes and pueblos; land grants; acequias; soil and water conservation districts; and New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service.
The webinar to prepare Individual Applicants to apply for a grant is Jan. 13 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Individual Applicants include farmers and ranchers, as well as businesses and nonprofits engaged in farming, ranching or other forms of land management.
To register for the appropriate webinar, go to www.nmda.nmsu.edu/healthy-soil-program.
Grant funding may be used for projects in New Mexico that focus on one or more of the five basic soil health principles named in the Healthy Soil Act: keeping the soil covered; minimizing soil disturbance on cropland and minimizing external inputs; maximizing biodiversity; maintaining a living root; and integrating animals into land management, including grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects or keystone species, such as earthworms.
Created in 2019, the purpose of the Healthy Soil Program is to promote and support farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the state’s soil health, yield and profitability.