Oregon Healthy Soils Policy

– No formal Healthy Soils Policy –

Establishment of Soil Health Specialist in Department of Agriculture

Dates:

June 2021

Legislation:

SB 5502 Budget Bill for Oregon Department of Agriculture

see page 22 of LFO Recommendations for Package 365 

Sponsor:

N/A for agency budget bills

Description:

This new Soil Health Specialist Position at Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) will provide in-house expertise at ODA to improve soil health on Oregon’s agricultural lands. More specifically:  

  1. Support implementation of ODA’s climate change plan which was drafted in response to the Governor’s Climate Action Plan (EO 20-04);
  2.  Advance Oregon agricultural practices that promote soil health through education, technical assistance and coordination;
  3.  Pursue funding from agency partners to support more widespread adoption of soil health practices;
  4.  Recommend additional policies and programs in Oregon to support soil health, using other state policies as models; and
  5.  Collaborate on research to understand Oregon’s soil carbon sequestration rates and how various practices can promote carbon sequestration and climate resilience.

Soil Health Definition:

Soil health has been defined as the “the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living system, within ecosystem and land-use boundaries, to sustain biological productivity, promote the quality of air and water environments, and maintain plant, animal, and human health”.

Stated Goals:

Provide in-house expertise at ODA to improve soil health on Oregon’s agricultural lands.

Program Required Measurements: 

TBD

Tools & Guidance:

  • N/A

Funding Source/s:

  • Oregon USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Funding Types: 

  • Federal Farm Bill monies

Practices Eligible for Funding:

  • TBD

Agencies Involved:

Rule Making Process:

N/A

State Universities & Researchers:

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

Education & Advocacy Groups

Lessons Learned: 

N/A

Media:

N/A


NOT PASSED: Oregon Cap-and-Invest Program

Dates:

  • Introduced February 4, 2019
  • Passed the House June 17, 2019
  • Died in the Senate July 8, 2019

Legislation:

HB 2020 

Sponsor/s:

The Joint Committee On Carbon Reduction

Description:

The Bill was conceived as a way to take action to address the climate crisis by reducing Oregon’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Bill would declare a climate emergency and create a statewide cap-and-invest program. If the cap-and-invest program were to be enacted, Oregon would join California as a part of the Western Climate Initiative.

HB 2020 proposes an 80% reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels by the year 2050. The revenue generated from auctioning emissions allowances would go to several grant programs, including a Climate Investments Fund, which would fund projects, programs and activities that reduce and sequester greenhouse gas emissions and promote adaptation and resilience in the face of climate change. Investments may include (but are not limited to): investments in agricultural practices that serve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or promote carbon sequestration, healthy soil practices, irrigation efficiency projects, and methane emissions reduction or recovery projects.  At least 20% of the Climate Investments Fund is designated to natural and working lands.

Soil Health Definition:

As defined by the NRCS, “…  the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.”

Stated Goals:

  • To reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions while supporting carbon sequestration

Program Required Measurements: 

  • N/A

Tools & Guidance:

  • N/A

Funding Source/s:

  • N/A

Funding Type/s: 

  • N/A

Practices Eligible for Funding:

  • N/A

Agencies Involved:

Rule Making Process:

  • A state agency, most likely the Carbon Policy Office, will oversee and facilitate the rulemaking process.
  • The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction (legislators) will be involved in the rulemaking process for investments.  They will need to approve the uses of the Climate Investments Fund.

State Universities & Researchers:

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

Education & Advocacy Groups

Lessons Learned: 

  • There was significant opposition from Republican legislators based on the climate change nature of the bill and citing concern about the economic impact on rural communities. 
  • Oregon Farm Bureau, though supportive of soil health overall, did not support the Cap-and-Invest Program.

Media:


Last updated 7/8/21


Questions?

Contact Megan Kemple, Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network at Oregon@healthysoilspolicy.org