Wed. Aug 12th, 2020

NMDA accepting Healthy Soil Program grant applications

LAS CRUCES (KSMX)- The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for its Healthy Soil Program.

The 2019 act’s purpose 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.

New Mexico farmers and ranchers interested in applying must do so by 5 p.m. Monday, August 31, through an Eligible Entity, such as a Soil and Water Conservation District; a tribe, nation, or pueblo; or a land grant or acequia. Eligible Entities will conduct preliminary reviews of the applications they receive, then forward the applications they approve to NMDA by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Eligible Entities are also invited to apply to NMDA on their own behalf; such applications are also due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 8. Late applications will not be accepted.

Grant funding may be used for agricultural projects in New Mexico that focus on one or more of five basic soil health principles: keeping the soil covered; minimizing soil disturbance on cropland; maximizing biodiversity; maintaining a living root; and integrating animals into land management.

“I encourage farmers, ranchers and all Eligible Entities to apply for this program, which is geared toward improving New Mexico’s soil health,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “We received 84 applications as part of the pilot program last year. Based on feedback from applicants and Eligible Entities during the program’s first year, our team has made several improvements to the entire process.”