U.S. Federal & State Policy
U.S. Federal Policy
On December 5, 2016, World Soil Day, the White House office of Science and Technology Policy, under the Obama Administration, announced a Federal Strategic Plan for Soil Science. Although the subsequent administration has taken it down, the framework can be accessed here.
Hawai‘i Center for Food Safety-sponsored bill to establish Carbon Farming Task Force signed into law
Status: Governor Ige signed this bill into law on June 6, 2017. He also signed a bill adopting the goals of the 2015 Pairs Climate Agreement.
On January 25th, the state of Hawaiʻi introduced House Bill 1578. Crafted by CFS staff attorney Sylvia Wu and introduced by State representative Chris Lee, the legislation creates a Carbon Farming Task Force with an aim to develop incentives for farmers and ranchers to improve the resilience of their land and protect their livelihoods as well as the island’s food security. Our Hawaiʻi team partnered with Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi, and Surfrider Foundation O‘ahu Chapter on this initiative. Soil Solutions provided testimony for the measure as it passed through several committee hearings.
California’s Healthy Soils Initiative Funded
California Department of Food and Agriculture appropriated $7.5 million in FY 2016-17 to develop and administer a new incentive and demonstration program on the CA Healthy Soils Initiative from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. The objective of this new Healthy Soils Program is to build soil carbon and reduce agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Maryland Healthy Soils Program Approved
Status: Approved by Governor Hogan
After hearing a presentation by our partners at Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, Maryland Delegate Dana Stein introduced HB 1063. The bill established the Healthy Soils Program directing the Maryland Department of Agriculture to provide incentives including research, education and technical assistance that contribute to healthy soils including farmer education. Soil Solutions generated support for the bill by sending out action alerts to over 5,000 CFS members in Maryland asking them to support the bill.
The legislation, which passed unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House, had the support of both climate change activists and the Maryland Farm Bureau.
Status: Referred to Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Energy
Vermont farmers, Jesse and Cally McDougall, initiated the legislation in 2016 after successfully transitioning from conventional to regenerative agriculture on their family farm, Studio Hill. Reintroduced this year by Vermont State Senator Brian Campion, the bill:
proposes to require the Secretary of Natural Resources to establish a regenerative soils program whose purposes include increasing the carbon sequestration capability of Vermont soils, reducing the amount of sediment and waste entering the waters of the State, and promoting cost-effective and healthy soil management practices.
Center for Food Safety’s soil team will be keeping an eye on the status of this innovative soil legislation and will post updates here.
New York A3281 – Carbon Farming Tax Credit
“Establishes a tax credit for farmers who maximize carbon sequestration potential through a “carbon farming” land management strategy; directs DEC to develop regulations related to certifying the amount of carbon sequestered or emissions reduced.”