NMDA accepting Healthy Soil Program grant applications

posted in: Resources, Soil health principles | 2

July 24, 2020

NMDA accepting Healthy Soil Program grant applications

Farmers and ranchers, Eligible Entities invited to apply

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications for its Healthy Soil Program, which was created in the 2019 Healthy Soil Act.

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.

New Mexico farmers and ranchers interested in applying must do so by 5 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31 through an Eligible Entity, such as a Soil and Water Conservation District; a tribe, nation, or pueblo; or a land grant or acequia. Eligible Entities will conduct preliminary reviews of the applications they receive, then forward the applications they approve to NMDA by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8. Eligible Entities are also invited to apply to NMDA on their own behalf; such applications are also due by 5 p.m. on Oct. 8. Late applications will not be accepted.

Grant funding may be used for agricultural projects in New Mexico that focus on one or more of five basic soil health principles: keeping the soil covered; minimizing soil disturbance on cropland; maximizing biodiversity; maintaining a living root; and integrating animals into land management.

“I encourage farmers, ranchers and all Eligible Entities to apply for this program, which is geared toward improving New Mexico’s soil health,” said New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte. “We received 84 applications as part of the pilot program last year. Based on feedback from applicants and Eligible Entities during the program’s first year, our team has made several improvements to the entire process.”

NMDA strongly recommends that farmers and ranchers who intend to apply make themselves known as soon as possible to the Eligible Entity through which they intend to apply.

For more information or to download a streamlined, fillable application, visit www.nmda.nmsu.edu or call 575-646-2642.


Haga clic aquí para la versión en español.

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The Healthy Soil Working Group is partnering with NMDA in this informational webinar about the Healthy Soil Program. NMDA will present an overview of the program, point out changes compared to last year and show how to apply. We’ll conclude with a live Q&A. Come prepared with your ideas & questions!

When: Tuesday August 11 at 5:30pm MT 
Where: online via Zoom 

→ Sign up here for the info session with NMDA


If you need assistance developing a simple conservation plan, as is now required if awarded a Healthy Soil Program grant, we can help! We will work in an online group setting, complemented by one-on-one coaching with certified consultants. This workshop will start in the winter and continue throughout spring 2021 to accommodate farm and ranch schedules.

When: Winter 2020 – Spring 2021 
Where: mostly online via Zoom 

→ Sign up if interested in conservation planning

2 Responses

  1. Sylvia Ernestina Vergara

    Would you please clarify who can be a sponsor for the healthy soil grant application. I would like to approach the NM Acequia Association for that sponsorship. I would like to call Paula Garcia, conserning one of their farm mentors from the NM Acequia Association to sponsor me. Is that possible?
    Please let me know as as soon as possible.

    Sylvia Ernestina Vergara

    • admin

      Hi Sylvia,
      Only so-called Eligible Entities can be sponsors. The Acequia Association or an individual farmer/business are not governmental agencies and therefore can’t be your sponsor. All of this has to do with New Mexico’s anti-donation clause (NMDA can’t write a check to an individual business or non-profits). NMDA explains in their FAQ:

      What is an “Eligible Entity”?
      A: The Healthy Soil Act states that grants shall be awarded to “Eligible Entities”, which include
      local government agencies “with proven land management capacity to support healthy soil”.
      Such entities include:
      ● Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs);
      ● Nations, tribes, and pueblos; and
      ● Land grants and acequias

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