Support for Healthy Soils in Oregon’s 2023 Legislature
Updated: Feb 9
OrCAN has been listening to you, our producers and network partners, and we’ve heard loud and clear that Oregon needs to provide increased holistic support to farmers and ranchers to implement healthy soils practices on the land.
photo credit: public domain, sourced via Wikimedia Commons
Through OrCAN's listening process, via surveys, discussion sessions, and one-on-one conversations we’ve found that producers want voluntary, incentive-based approaches to advance soil health. These include: technical assistance, outreach and farmer-to-farmer education, financial incentives, and research.
We’re thrilled to share that we have an opportunity to make this a reality through two key, interconnected bills this legislative session!
Healthy Soils Bill (HB 2998): we are championing this bill which would establish the Oregon Soil Health Initiative to improve soil health on Oregon’s farms and ranches by advancing key voluntary strategies: financial incentives, technical assistance, farmer-to-farmer education, research, and other resources. Here’s a factsheet about the bill and a summary with full text of the bill.
Natural Climate Solutions Bill (SB 530): we are advocating for this bill which 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 fact sheet about the bill and the bill details.
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.
Together, they would make great progress in advancing soil health, climate mitigation and resilience on Oregon’s farms and ranches.
We recently held two virtual info sessions about the Bills. You can view the recording here to learn more. (27 minutes long)
The time to engage is now!
Both bills have been introduced in the legislature and now we need to demonstrate strong support from the agricultural community! Endorsements from farms and ranches are especially impactful.
You can endorse here:
Thank you if you’ve already endorsed!
Next Steps in the Legislative Process
Both bills are expected to have Public Hearings in mid-February and we’ll need people to contact their legislators, and provide written or verbal testimony at the hearings.
Once Public Hearings are held, legislators will be voting on the bills as they move through committees. The first committee votes are expected in late February and then it could be quite a while, as late as May or June, for the Ways and Means Committee to vote on funding for the bills. The legislative session will end in June.
We welcome your engagement throughout this process. If you sign on as an endorser, we’ll be in touch with opportunities to engage based on your responses.
Thanks for your interest in OrCAN’s work to advance soil health, climate mitigation and resilience on Oregon’s farms and ranches. Together, we can support healthy soils principles that work for farmers’ land and businesses.
Healthy soils provide essential benefits to farms and ranches, including:
resilience to drought and other extreme weather events
improved water and nutrient-holding capacity, and reduced erosion
enhanced plant health, including disease and pest resistance
sequestered carbon, improved water quality, and increased biodiversity and pollinator habitat
reduced agricultural input costs and protection of worker health increased profitability and economic resilience