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DFA Awards StopWaste and Partners with Healthy Soils Grant

July 9, 2019

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) recently announced its latest round of grant recipients for the Healthy Soils Program, distributing $12.48 million throughout the state.

A team composed of the Alameda County Resource Conservation District (ACRCD), StopWaste, UC Merced, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and Point Blue Conservation Science, is one of 23 recipients selected for an on-farm Healthy Soils Demonstration Grant to test the efficacy of compost application in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequestering carbon on rangeland soil in eastern Alameda County.

The move triples the state’s investment in agricultural soil, and represents the largest investments in the country to build healthy agricultural soil and apply carbon farming methods to fight climate change. Adding compost is by far the most popular practice with more than half (119) of the total projects planning to adopt or expand their use of it. 

The project involves 1,600 acres of Agency-owned rangeland in the Altamont area near Livermore, which is grazed year-round and supports wind energy production. It will test compost application on slopes between 15-30 percent to determine whether reported benefits in these locations are similar to those in flatter grazed areas. Applying compost to a wider array of locations, including hillsides, will greatly expand the applicability of the practice in the county and throughout the state. 

In addition, the project will evaluate key soil and vegetative characteristics following compost application, and compare compost treated sites with controls, and will also create enclosures to observe change when grasslands are left ungrazed. Partner organizations will host workshops and field days to describe the carbon farming process and demonstrate the results to farmers and ranchers throughout the region. 

Read the full announcement here, and read more about the benefits of carbon farming practices.