Media Contacts: Steve Lyle (CDFA), 916-654-0462 , firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENTO, December 3, 2020 – This year’s Healthy Soils Week, observed in conjunction with World Soil Day on December 5th, highlights the importance of building soil health ‘on the farm and at your home.’ California has taken bold action in 2020 to scale up healthy soil practices throughout the state – in rural and urban areas alike -– including Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on nature-based solutions to protect biodiversity and combat climate change; doubling investments in healthy soils incentives; and aligning state programs and policies to support soil management practices.
Governor Newsom’s Executive Order on biodiversity and nature-based solutions to climate change recognizes and emphasizes healthy soils as an essential element for our state’s biodiversity, in fighting climate change and in cultivating resilient landscapes in California. The Order charges California’s Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of 16 state agencies and departments led by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, to build on its work to promote the development of healthy soils in the coming years.
Led by the California Department of Food and Agriculture, the Healthy Soils Initiative has convened monthly throughout 2020 and awarded $25.2 million in Healthy Soils Program funding for 339 on-farm projects on 32,051 acres. Collectively, these projects will reduce greenhouse gases by 75.2k metric tons of CO2e annually, which is equivalent to removing 6,248 passenger vehicles from the road per year.
The state has undertaken a number of other efforts this year to help advance the Healthy Soils Initiative:
• Released a Water Resilience Portfolio at the direction of the Governor, which integrates healthy soils into state water policy, recognizing the role soil health plays in water management by filtering and storing water.
• Updated the State Water Board’s Compost General Order to better address and encourage on-farm composting.
• Launched the On-Farm Compost Work Group, co-led by CDFA, CalEPA and the US EPA to promote regulatory alignment and create tools to promote composting of agricultural materials on-farm.
• Established Pollinator Regulatory Guidance by the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to promote best management practices for pollinator conservation.
• Workshops led by CDFA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) created a Healthy Soils Partnership Framework to support private sector programs that incentivize healthy soil management practices on agricultural land.
• Convened an interagency group of state land managers to discuss where healthy soils can be better integrated into state land management guidelines and policies
• Workshops led by Caltrans and CalRecycle informed the use of compost-based best management practices to improve roadway revegetation and control erosion and storm water quality
The Administration is committed to continuing the promotion of innovative farm and land management practices that build soil organic matter that can increase carbon sequestration and reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions.