“Given the appropriate tools, training and support is key to organizing and mobilizing farmers. We found that many individuals just lacked to confidence to approach and reach out to their legislators, once they had the appropriate support they were engaged and could certainly speak to the issues.”
- NOFA-NY (Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY)
Every year, the Network provides small grants, skill-building training and peer coaching to members to cultivate farmer leaders to advance healthy soils policies.
“As a very small nonprofit, we don’t have other sources of funding for engaging with soil health policy and as far as we know, no other organizations are currently advocating for this policy in Kansas. Without this funding we likely would not be doing advocacy and education in this area.”
- Kansas Rural Center
2023 Healthy Soils and Climate Bills Championed & Passed by Our Membership
Resources provided by the Network supported farmer organizing activities that contributed to the advancement of the following healthy soils policies, programs and funding in 2023:
Hawaii Farmers Union (HI)
A refile of the Healthy Soils Program bill (SB660) advanced in the legislature, while organizing centered around “Talk Story" listening sessions, informing policy priorities and enabling them to recruit and train grass-tops leaders and farmer spokespeople.
Illinois Stewardship Alliance (IL)
After three years of organizing, the Alliance saw the passage of a bill to create the Illinois Healthy Soils Initiative and direct state agencies to collaborate on an accelerated soil health framework (SB1701). A successful push on the FY2024 budget provided up to $4 million for the new initiative (HB3817).
Northeast Organic Farming Association, Mass. (MA)
Successfully led a coalition effort to secure $1.02M in the FY24 budget to fund healthy soils programs.
Oregon Climate & Agriculture Network (OR)
Successfully advocated for passage of a Natural Climate Solutions Bill (SB530), providing incentives and technical assistance for land managers to adopt natural climate solutions, including soil health practices.
Pasa Sustainable Agriculture (PA)
Leveraged an existing bill (1994 PA Sustainable Agriculture Act) to convince the PA State Conservation Commission to create a Soil Health Program. Their long-running Soil Health Benchmark study continued in 2023, working with more than 100 farmers to assess their soil health and implement improvement practices.