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Healthy Soil Program


NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program

The period to apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant to implement a project in Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) closed May 19, 2022 at 5 p.m. To learn of future funding opportunities available through the Healthy Soil Program, please subscribe to the email newsletter via the form at the bottom of this page.

Grants to improve soil health are the centerpiece of NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program. Every year, NMDA awards grants to implement on-the-ground projects that revolve around one or more of the five soil health principles, stated as follows in the legislative Act that created the program:

  1. keeping soil covered
  2. minimizing soil disturbance on cropland and minimizing external inputs
  3. maximizing biodiversity
  4. maintaining a living root
  5. integrating animals into land management, including grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects or keystone species, such as earthworms

NMDA recognizes two types of applicants for Healthy Soil Program grants:

  1. Eligible Entities, defined in the Healthy Soil Act as “local governmental [entities] with proven land management capacity to support healthy soil”, including:
    • Pueblos, tribes, and nations
    • Land grants
    • Acequias
    • Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs)
    • NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service
  2. Individual Applicants, a category that  includes individuals, businesses, and nonprofits engaged in farming, ranching, and/or other forms of land management.  Before they apply for a Healthy Soil Program grant, Individual Applicants must complete conservation planning in cooperation with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Conservation planning reveals the unique strengths and challenges of a particular piece of land, offering the land manager a strong foundation on which to design a soil health-improvement project.  Also required for an Individual Applicant: fiscal and project-management support from their soil and water conservation district (SWCD) or their pueblo, tribe, or nation.

Again, the application period for FY23 grants has closed. Please stay tuned via this webpage and the Healthy Soil Program e-newsletter to learn of future funding opportunities.

NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program background

NMDA created its Healthy Soil Program after the Healthy Soil Act was signed into law in 2019. The purpose of the 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 health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state.”

More information about the fundamentals of soil health is available in this training led by NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service. To access the training, click on the bulleted “Soil Health Workshop” hyperlink.

Interested in learning more about the Healthy Soil Tax Refund Contribution Option Visit the NM Healthy Soil Working Group.

Contact NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program: