Healthy Soil Program

For the most up-to-date information, please visit the new NMDA Healthy Soil Program page on the new NMDA website.

Welcome to the official website for NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program.

For Healthy Soil Program updates, subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this page.   For an introduction to the grants component of NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program, please see this fact sheet.

The 8-week application period for FY23 Healthy Soil Program grants opened Friday, March 18, 2022 and will close Thursday, May 12, 2022 at 5 p.m. MT.  Late submissions will not be accepted. 

NMDA hosted two webinars to show how to complete the application for a Healthy Soil Program grant:

Each Healthy Soil Program project that competes for grant funding must occur in New Mexico, aiming to improve soil by implementing one or more of five soil health principles:

  1. keeping soil covered;
  2. minimizing soil disturbance on cropland and minimizing external inputs;
  3. maximizing biodiversity;
  4. maintaining a living root; and
  5. integrating animals into land management, including grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects or keystone species, such as earthworms.

Which principle(s) — and which corresponding agricultural / conservation practices — you implement will depend upon the natural resource concerns on the land you manage.  These resource concern guide sheets (cropland and rangeland) could help you generate project ideas after you have identified the land’s soil health-related resource concerns.

Please review the information below, as well our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), before (and while) working to complete the grant application.  The application requires all applicants complete and upload this combined timeline/budget template

NMDA recognizes two types of applicants for Healthy Soil Program grants:

  1. Eligible Entities, defined in the Healthy Soil Act as “local governmental [entities] with proven land management capacity to support healthy soil”, including:
  • Pueblos, tribes, and nations
  • Land grants
  • Acequias
  • Soil and water conservation districts (SWCDs)
  • NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service

Watch the Jan. 11 webinar that prepared Eligible Entities to apply (featuring a current grantee)

  1. Individual Applicants include individuals, businesses, and nonprofits engaged in farming, ranching, and/or other forms of land management.  Individual Applicants must complete two requirements before they can apply: 1) conservation planning; and 2) securing project support from a soil and water conservation district (SWCD) or pueblo, tribe, or nation. Individual Applicants, along with SWCDs and tribal entities supporting Individual Applicant projects: Click here to learn about these two requirements and to download the documents an Individual Applicant must complete in order to meet these requirements.

Watch the Jan. 13 webinar that prepared Individual Applicants to apply (featuring a current grantee, as well as an SWCD supporting current projects)

Individual Applicants who cannot secure a conservation plan (or completed conservation planning template) by the May 12, 2022 application deadline may instead apply for a Conservation Planning Opportunity.  See the FAQ for details. 

BACKGROUND: NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program

NMDA created its Healthy Soil Program after the Healthy Soil Act was signed into law in 2019.  The purpose of the program 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 health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state.” 

More information about the fundamentals of soil health is available in this training led by NMSU’s Cooperative Extension Service.  To access the training, click on the bulleted “Soil Health Workshop” hyperlink.

Contact NMDA’s Healthy Soil Program:

Interested in learning more about the Healthy Soil Tax Refund Contribution Option?  Click here for more information from the NM Healthy Soil Working Group.


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