Farmers, ranchers and agricultural organizations around the globe today are celebrating “World Soil Day,” a day designated by the food and agriculture arm of the United Nations to celebrate soil and its nexus with human well-being, climate stabilization, and vibrant ecosystems.
With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, healthy soils enhance agricultural production and are key to food global security. Healthy soils increase water retention, enhance biodiversity, capture atmospheric carbon, and play an important role mitigating climate change.
CDFA is deeply committed to this issue through its Healthy Soils Program, which provides grant funding to farmers and ranchers implementing practices to reduce greenhouse gases and improve soil health. In 2017 and 2018 the agency funded 110 projects covering more than 8,600 acres in California, with $7.5 million in funding from the California Climate Investments fund. CDFA has received $15 million to fund additional on-farm practices in 2019.
In September of this year, Governor Brown signed Executive Order B-55-18, setting a new statewide goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. Soil carbon sequestration–which is facilitated by the Healthy Soils Program–is among the practices identified to achieve this goal and is part of California’s working lands strategy.
Additionally, CDFA has joined the governments of France, the Netherlands and Baja California to initiate the Global Soil Health Challenge, which calls on governments around the world – both national and sub-national – to include programs that restore soil health under their national plans to meet their targets under the Paris Agreement. The challenge will set the stage for international collaboration between scientists, farmers and financiers on an ongoing basis in efforts to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by capturing more carbon in the planet’s soils.