Utah Healthy Soils Policy

Carbon Sequestration on Rangelands

Date:

2015

Legislation:

H.C.R. 8 Concurrent Resolution on Carbon Sequestration on Rangelands

Sponsor/s:

Description:

This Bill is a concurrent resolution meaning both houses of the legislative assembly adopts the resolution but it doesn’t have the force of law. The resolution calls on the President of the United States to direct federal agencies to implement management practices that increase soil carbon and to develop comprehensive plans that achieve the maximum amount of carbon sequestration possible. It also urges other states to take similar action. 

The Bill urges Utah state agencies, “with authority to manage lands to increase soil carbon sequestration” to develop management plans that will increase carbon sequestration in soils.

Soil Health Definition:

Soil health, “…the primary means of removing atmospheric carbon dioxide to the maximum extent possible.

Program Required Measurements:

N/A

Tools:

N/A

Funding Source:

No funding is associated with this bill. 

Funding Type:

No funding is associated with this bill. 

Practices eligible for funding:

N/A

Agencies Involved:

Rulemaking process:

N/A

State Universities & Researchers: 

Utah State University: Land-grant university 

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

Education & Advocacy Groups:

Lessons Learned:

Media:


Soil Health Amendments

Date:

Signed into law on March 16th, 2021.

Legislation: 

HB 296

Sponsor/s: 

Description:

This bill addresses programs related to the health of soil, modifies the purposes of the Conservation Commission Act, and establishes the Soil Health Advisory Committee.

The Utah Soil Health Program is created under the Conservation Commission to provide voluntary incentives through a grant program for eligible entities to implement soil health practices, raise awareness of soil health benefits through demonstration projects, outreach and education, establish a state soil health monitoring and inventory platform and advance soil health research. 

Soil Health Definition:

“Soil health means the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans.”

Stated Goals:

The Legislature finds that soil health is essential to protecting the state’s soil and water resources, bolstering the state’s food supply, and sustaining the state’s agricultural industry.”

Program Required Measurements:

A recipient of a grant for research, educational, or demonstration projects is required to “conduct outreach and educational activities regarding the projects, including field day visits; and disclose information related to the projects, including the locations of the projects, the soil health practices implemented, and the environmental or economic outcomes.”

Tools: 

The bill mentions a “State soil health inventory and platform”, including a geospatial inventory, documenting: (a) the condition of agricultural soils; (b) the implementation of soil health practices; or (c) the environmental and economic impacts, including current and potential future carbon holding capacity of soils, or other information the department considers appropriate.

Funding Source:

The Conservation Commission can accept “grants, gifts, services, donations, or other

resources from the United States government or a corporation or agency created or designed by the United States to lend or grant money; the state or any of the state’s political subdivisions; or any other source.”

Funding Type:  

Monetary incentives provided through the program include grants and loans. Non-monetary incentives include “equipment, technical assistance, educational materials, outreach, and market development assistance for market premiums or ecosystem services.”

Practices eligible for funding: 

Practices that may contribute to soil health, including:

  • no-tillage;
  • conservation tillage;
  • crop rotations;
  • intercropping;
  • cover cropping;
  • planned grazing;
  • the application of soil amendments that add carbon or organic matter, including biosolids, manure, compost, or biochar;
  • revegetation;
  • other practices the department determines contribute or have the potential to contribute to soil health.

Also listed are the 5 soil health principles:

  1. Maximizing soil cover,
  2. Minimizing soil disturbance, 
  3. Maximizing biodiversity, 
  4. Maintaining a continual live plant or root in the soil, 
  5. Integrating livestock.

Agencies Involved:

Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Utah Conservation Commission

Rulemaking process:

The Conservation Commission sets guidelines by rule for the administration of the Healthy Soil Program. The Soil Health Advisory Committee serves as an advisory committee to the commission.

State Universities & Researchers: 

Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University

Agricultural Organizations & Technical Assistance:

As defined in the bill: “Technical assistance organization means a person, including an eligible entity, who has demonstrated technical expertise in implementing soil health practices and soil health principles, as determined by the department.”

Education & Advocacy Groups:

N/A

Lessons Learned:

N/A

Media:

N/A


Last updated 4/20/21


Questions?

Contact Utah@healthysoilspolicy.org