Healthy Soils Policy Advancing in the 2023 Legislature
OrCAN continues to work hard on our priority bills for this legislative session! Here’s an update as the bills have progressed through key steps in the legislative process.
The Healthy Soils Bill (HB 2998A) would establish the Oregon Soil Health Initiative to expand resources to support farmers and ranchers with soil health practices. It’s a voluntary, incentive-based approach that is focused on strategies to advance soil health including: technical assistance, farmer-to-farmer education, financial incentives, equipment and soil testing. We’re excited by the broad support we were able to rally from the agricultural community, including over 80 farms and ranches. You can find a fact sheet with endorsers here. The Healthy Soils Bill language may be included in a larger bill, the State’s drought package, as an alternative vehicle to passing the strategies to advance soil health. You can read the full text of the bill here.
The Natural Climate Solutions Bill (SB 530) would provide dedicated funding for voluntary natural climate solutions on Oregon’s natural and working lands, including farms and ranches, through incentives and technical support. Here's a factsheet with endorsers and the current bill text.
The Healthy Soils Bill and the Natural Climate Solutions Bill are complementary. In particular, the Natural Climate Solutions Bill includes funding which could be used to implement the strategies in the Healthy Soils Bill.
Both bills passed through the first hurdle in the legislative process (moving out of their policy committees), and they are now onto the Ways and Means Committee, where funding is considered. Thank you to everyone who has endorsed, contacted your legislator, provided testimony for a hearing, or otherwise supported the bills. We’re making good progress, but the state budget is tight, so there's still a lot of work to do to secure the funding they need to pass.
We’ll keep you updated!
With your help, there’s even more we can do. This policy work can be difficult to fund with grants. We need financial support from our community to continue to realize a future where healthy soils are the foundation of thriving food systems in Oregon--reconnecting healthy ecosystems, economies, and communities. Please consider supporting this important work.