Developments around the NM Healthy Soil Act

By Isabelle Jenniches

We’re happy to report that the department of agriculture (NMDA) is creating an inclusive process, involving all stakeholders in the implementation of the Healthy Soil Program. While details need to be worked out, NMDA is looking at a fall release for the Healthy Soil grant program, so that awardees can be ready for soil health activities in the spring of 2020.

More good news: NRCS recently announced $100,000 recurring federal support for the Healthy Soil program, in addition to a $375,000 appropriation for the initiative (of which $100,000 is also recurring). Our Working Group is busy writing grants for soil health education and on-the-ground projects in partnership with other advocacy groups, pueblos and tribes, as well as NMSU, NMDA, NMACD and local Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Stay tuned for workshops and incentives coming your way!

In the meantime, here’s a great opportunity to make a difference in your community:

Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCD) in New Mexico will be holding board elections this year. This is a great opportunity for you or people in your network to become local leaders to help enhance soil health through the new Healthy Soil Program, the farm bill and other programs that are administered through them. We want to get the word out to as many people as possible so please share this opportunity widely!

If you are interested in running you must be a registered voter in the district boundary of that SWCD. It is a 4-year term and the time commitment is 1-6 hours a month depending on the work load of the SWCD.

Below is more information about this election process. If you have questions, please contact NM Department of Agriculture point person, Katie Mechenbier at:  kmechenbier@nmda.nmsu.edu

Special Election Information:

Each of the 47 Conservation Districts will have 3 positions on the ballot.  For 2 of the positions, you must be a landowner within the district boundaries,  For the 3rd position, you just have to live in the district and be a registered voter.

Districts will have to inform the Secretary of State (SOS) and the County Clerk of any open positions from June 8, 2019 – July 8, 2019. The SOS will issue the Local Election proclamation on August 7, 2019 which will contain all necessary information for a candidate to file on Local Election Candidate Filing day which will take place on August 27, 2019 at the County offices statewide.

The Regular Local Elections will take place November 5, 2019 and the start date of officer terms will be January 1, 2020.

Featured image from Flickr.

Developments around the NM Healthy Soil Act