Pass the Mass. Healthy Soils Bill!
Soil loss is a major contributor to climate change; this program would provide guidance on proven ways to mitigate or even reverse carbon loss from soils.
Degraded soils make farmers more vulnerable to drought and floods, while healthy soils make them more resilient!
Healthy soils require less pesticides and less fertilizer.
Healthy soils are less prone to leeching and runoff, preserving watershed health.
Please use this form to contact your state representative today to support the creation of a Mass. Healthy Soils Program
Farmers are on the frontline of climate change, and are the first to feel its impacts. Agricultural practices which promote healthy soils allow farmers to better withstand extreme weather events and can directly mitigate climate change by pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and putting it into the soil, where it directly benefits crop health. For the sake of our farmers and our climate, Massachusetts must invest in Healthy Soils Practices.
DO you represent a farm or organization? Please add your farm or organization to the growing list of endorsers (click here).
Support for the Mass. Healthy Soils Bill is growing!
As of March 2019, the Healthy Soils Bill has the support of 75 legislative cosponsors (that’s more than 37% of the legislature)!
Demonstrating a broad and diverse coalition of support from organizations, farms and businesses across the Commonwealth will help legislators prioritize this bill for passage this session.
The bill was passed by the Joint Agriculture Committee on Nov. 12, 2019 and is now before the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
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Background: What are the benefits of healthy, carbon-rich soils?
The benefits of healthy soils are not limited to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Healthy soils also:
Hold more water- Healthy soils essentially act as a sponge—they retain moisture better in times of low rainfall and can hold more when rainfall is high, reducing risk of flooding to nearby lowlands. An 1% increase in soil organic matter on just one acre enables the land to hold an additional 20,000 gallons of water.
Reduce run-off- That same sponge-like quality allows soils to naturally resist erosion. Also, healthy soils can both chemically and biologically hold more nutrients, meaning they retain more of the fertilizers applied. This reduces downstream pollution, which can impact watershed health in many ways including dangerous algae blooms, contaminated drinking water, and other biological disruptions.
Require less fertilizer- The abundant soil life in healthy soils provides much of the nutritional needs for crops. Fungi and bacteria have coevolved with plants to provide essential nutrients by extracting them from the organic and geological components of the soil in exchange for carbon (in the form of sugars).
Result in better, healthier crops- Healthy soils provide a steady drip of fertility and moisture, instead of the deluge and dirth cycles common in today’s agricultural systems. Healthy plants are able to photosynthesize more effectively, and are able to produce the necessary metabolites that defend them from disease and pests. In short, healthy soils grow healthier plants, which need less pesticides.