Serving the High Plains

NMDA taking Healthy Soil grant applications

The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for its Healthy Soil Program from April 11 through May 17.

Eligible entities are defined in the 2019 Healthy Soil Act as “local governmental [entities] with proven land management capacity to support healthy soil” and include pueblos, tribes, and nations; acequias; land grants; soil and water conservation districts; and New Mexico State University’s Cooperative Extension Service. NMDA also will accept grant applications from other local governmental entities that manage land.

NMDA will host a webinar at 1:30 p.m. April 18 to demonstrate how eligible entities should complete the online application for a Healthy Soil Program grant. Registration is required to attend. Related information and registration for the webinar is available on the NMDA website.

Grant funding may be used for on-the-ground projects in New Mexico that focus on one or more of the five soil health principles: 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.

“Eligible entities exist across New Mexico, and I encourage them to apply for a grant in an effort to support healthy soil in our state,” New Mexico Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said. “Since the program’s pilot year, we have seen many successful projects implemented as a result of Healthy Soil Program grants.”

Eligible entity applications are due by noon May 17. Applications must be completed and submitted online. Late and incomplete applications will not be considered for funding.

The Healthy Soil Program was created in the 2019 Healthy Soil Act. Enacted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, the 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.

In addition to eligible entities, NMDA is accepting grant applications from individual applicants until noon April 21. Visit the NMDA Healthy Soil Program web page for more information, to subscribe to program updates and to prepare to apply for a grant.