Soil Health in the 2023 Farm Bill

  • Healthy, living soils can:
  • Sequester carbon helping us meet state emissions reduction goals
  • Reduce drought stress by increasing water infiltration
  • Protect water quality by decreasing nutrient runoff after heavy storms
  • Improve nutrient uptake by plants reducing excess nutrients entering water bodies
  • NY is a pioneer in supporting farmers to improve soil health

NY is a pioneer in supporting farmers to improve soil health. 

The unanimous passage of the Soil Health and Climate Leadership Act in 2021, built a solid foundation for us to build upon including a definition of soil health and soil health practices, dedicated funding for ongoing soil health research, and the development of state-wide voluntary soil health standards. Improving statewide soil health is also an essential strategy for supporting the future of our food system and decreasing agricultural emissions as detailed in the Climate Scoping Plan (page 296). NY is uniquely poised to utilize federal funding to expand on-farm soil health and climate resilience projects while demonstrating replicable models for other states and Tribal governments to adapt to their conditions. 

In the 2023 Farm Bill, we have an opportunity to support this important state work with an infusion of federal funding.

Section 1240S of the Agriculture Resilience Act, “State Assistance for Soil Health” details how a new grant program could be used to bolster state and Tribal soil health work. Under the State Assistance for Soil Health grant program, a State department of agriculture or Tribal government would be eligible to apply for up to $5 million per year to supplement state or Tribal government funding for soil health planning and implementation. Eligible activities include technical and financial assistance, on-farm research and demonstration, outreach and training, monitoring, and evaluation.

2023 Farm Bill Campaign

The farm bill is an omnibus bill – a package of legislation combined into one bill – passed roughly every five years. The bill includes most federal legislation related to agriculture, food, and the food system and has a massive impact on how food is grown, sold, distributed, and bought in this country.

For this farm bill, NOFA-NY has joined forces with eight organic farming associations across the Northeast to create a 2023 Farm Bill Platform informed by extensive outreach to our members and farmers. Learn more about our campaign and get involved here.