Kansas Healthy Soils Policy

Kansas Healthy Soil Initiative

Date:

Introduced February 10, 2021

Legislation: 

HB 2310

Sponsor: 

Representative Rui Xu

Description:

The bill amends existing statute concerning conservation districts to create the Kansas healthy soils fund and the Kansas healthy soils initiative.

Soil Health Definition:

“Soil health” means the overall composition of soil, including the amount of organic matter in and water holding capacity of the soil, and the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystemthat sustains plants, animals and humans.

Stated Goals:

The bill adds soil health and restoration to the state’s conservation efforts.

Program Required Measurements:

N/A

Tools: 

N/A

Funding Source:

The Kansas healthy soil fund can receive appropriations from the legislature as well as gifts, grants or private contributions.

Funding Type:  

Grants, loans and incentives can be used to to train or educate farmers and agricultural cooperatives or to further their “employment, income and productivity”.

Practices eligible for funding: 

“Healthy soils practices” means agricultural practices that:
(1) Improve the health of soils, including through consideration of the water infiltration rate, water holding capacity, depth of topsoil horizons, organic carbon content, nutrient content, bulk density, biological activity, biological and microbiological diversity and minimizing bare ground in soils;
(2) follow the principles of keeping soil covered, minimizing soil disturbance and external inputs, maximizing biodiversity, maximizing the presence of living roots and integrating animals into land management, including grazing animals, birds, beneficial insects or keystone species, such as earthworms; and
(3) are achieved through conservation tillage or no-till, covercropping, planned grazing, integrated crop-livestock systems, integrated pest management, nutrient best management practices and those practices recommended by the United States department of agriculture natural resources conservation service field office technical guide that are supported  by the department of health and environment.

Agencies Involved:

Kansas Department of Agriculture

Kansas Department of Revenue

Rulemaking process:

N/A

State Universities & Researchers: 

N/A

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

Kansas Conservation Districts

Education & Advocacy Groups:

N/A

Lessons Learned:

N/A

Media:


NOT PASSED: Income tax credit for carbon farming

Date:

Introduced February 2020

Legislation: 

House Bill 2640 

Sponsor/s: 

Representative Rui Xu

Description:

The Act aims to increase carbon sequestration in soils and associated co-benefits of increased yields, soil health, improved water quality and reductions in greenhouse gases. It does so by incentivising farmers through income tax credits to engage in farming practices that sequester atmospheric carbon.

HB 2640 would establish an income tax credit for carbon farming. It would require the Secretary of Agriculture to create the parameters of the program, including certification process, rule making, as well as educational materials.

The Secretary of Agriculture in consultation with the Secretary of Revenue would annually calculate and certify the amount of credit based on the economic value of carbon farming performed by the taxpayer.

Soil Health Definition:

The bill does not specifically define “soil health” however it does define “carbon farming” as

“(A) The implementation of a land management strategy upon agricultural land that is used for farming for the purposes of reducing, sequestering and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; and 

(B) quantifying the greenhouse gas benefits of such land management strategy by utilizing the United States department of agriculture’s cometplanner and comet-farm quantification tools.”

Stated Goals:

  • “To enhance soil and carbon sequestration, resulting in a wide range of environmental and agricultural benefits to Kansas farmers and residents, including increased yields, soil health, improved water quality and reductions in greenhouse gases”
  • “To encourage farmers to further sequester and mitigate carbon in this state by establishing a carbon farming tax credit to reward and incentivize farmers to maintain or adopt practices that help maximize Kansas’ carbon sequestration potential.”

Program Required Measurements:

To be determined

Tools: 

  • COMET-Planner evaluates potential carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions from specific conservation practices.

Funding Source:

Not specified.

Funding Type:  

Tax credit

Practices eligible for funding: 

Practices stated include, but are not limited to “the use of cover crops, conservation crop rotations, prescribed grazing, nutrient management and a no-tillage system.”

Agencies Involved:

Kansas Department of Agriculture

Kansas Department of Revenue

Rulemaking process:

Currently referred to Committee on Taxation

State Universities & Researchers: 

N/A

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

N/A

Education & Advocacy Groups:

Climate Action KC

Lessons Learned:

N/A

Media:


House Committee

Agriculture

Senate Committee

Agriculture and Natural Resources

State Universities & Researchers

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:


Questions?

Contact Kansas@healthysoilspolicy.org