|Tuesday April 6, 2021|
Governor Lujan Grisham signed HB 89 “the Healthy Soil Tax Refund Contribution Option” which means it is now officially enacted into law. What the law says is that any New Mexico tax paying resident who qualifies for a refund on their personal income tax return can voluntarily donate all or part of their refund to the Healthy Soil Program administered by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.
Out of the now 18 state program contribution options, this is the only option that supports agriculture. All tax refund contributions will directly enable more soil health grants for farmers and ranchers each year. This is a great way to engage the public and raise more funds and awareness for this successful program which benefits producers, public health and the environment all at once.
We want to thank everyone who has supported soil health and helped this bill become law starting with the farmers and ranchers who do the work on the ground. All of you in our grassroots network for your amazing advocacy. The multitude of partners that spoke at committees and stand side by side with us including Pam Roy with the NM Food & Agriculture Policy Council, Debbie Hughes with the NM Association of Conservation Districts and Zoey Fink with Young Farmers Coalition, Tiffany Rivera and Valerie Huerta with the NM Farm and Livestock Bureau and so many more fantastic partners.
We thank the New Mexico Department of Agriculture for their dedication to successfully administer the Healthy Soil Program and keep the legislature up to speed. NRCS who meaningfully supports and matches state funding for the program along with the Thornburg and Globetrotter foundations for their impactful and longstanding support. We thank the Governor and her staff and the members and staff of the NM legislature including the Committee chairs (representatives Derek Lente and Javier Martinez, senators Liz Stefanics and Benny Shendo), Speaker Brian Egolf and Majority Leader Peter Wirth, all HB 89 co-sponsors including representatives Christine Chandler, Gail Armstrong, Nathan Small and Melanie Stansbury.
We thank every member of the House and Senate who spoke up and/or voted in favor of this, which is almost everyone! We don’t take it for granted that the bill received this exceptional amount of bipartisan support in the 2021 legislature. It is a testament to the critical importance of soil health which is foundational for the well being of our society.
Finally we want to thank our lead sponsor Representative Jack Chatfield who has been an excellent champion for this bill supporting the Healthy Soil Program. He is a rancher in northeast New Mexico who walks the talk. In appreciation we have produced the video below featuring Jack Chatfield at his ranch that focuses on his approach to soil health.
With gratitude to all the good work and teamwork being done in the Land of Enchantment,
NM Healthy Soil Working Group
→ Read the bill text: HB 89 Healthy Soil Program Tax Refund Contribution Option
Learn more about NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program
The next round of funding is expected to be announced in May 2021.