Action Alert: Soil Health Legislation
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo and Senator Michelle Hinchey – chairs of the State Assembly and Senate Agriculture committees – have introduced a Soil Health Bill for New York State. Text of the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act (A5386/S4722) is available here.
NOFA-NY fully supports this bill, including the foundational definition of soil health. However, we would like language added that addresses the decades-long work of organic farmers in building soil health on their farms.
Below are some template suggestions. Feel free to write in your own words, and tell your own story, but please be sure to include the Bill Number (A5386/S4722), and your name and address. Please send a copy of your letter to us (email@example.com), and let us know if you get a response. Thank you!
Dear Senator/Assembly Member [NAME]:
I am a [certified organic] farmer in [NAME OF TOWN, COUNTY]. I have been farming organically on [NAME OF FARM] since [YEAR]. I am a member of NOFA-NY.
I fully support the Soil Health and Climate Resiliency Act A5386/S4722. I am very appreciative that this definition of soil health has included the facts that soil is a living organism, and that the action and diversity of microorganisms is essential.
[Tell your story about soil health: what it means to you; perhaps an anecdote of how it has affected your yields/disease or pest management, etc. or anything else pertinent.]
Organic farming is about feeding the soil, not the plant. Organic farmers commit to using practices that improve the health of soil, and the USDA regulations also require that. We have learned quite a few lessons about soil health as we have been farming organically.
In addition I have a couple of suggestions to add to the Bill that would support organic, regenerative farmers.
- In the Section on Soil Health Experts, please add that organic farmers should also be considered as “soil health management” experts.
- Soil health practices should be prioritized in all funding. In describing the Climate Resilient Farming projects (§151-N.7), we ask that you bring the soil health projects to the top of the list, and add organic certification.
- Incentives should be available for all farmers who have been using regenerative soil health practices as well as new adoptees, and we fully support specific incentives for farmers of color.
Thank you again for supporting this bill, and for the work that you do in support of organic and all family farmers.
Your address and farm name
- NOFA-NY’s comments on the Strengthening Organic Enforcement proposed rule (October 2020)
- NOFA-NY’s comments on the USDA domestic hemp program (October 2020)
- NOFA-NY’s comments on genetically engineered chestnut trees (September 2020)
- NOFA-NY’s comments on the Origin of Livestock proposed rule (December 2019)
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