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Eligible Practices for HSP

There are up to 30 different conservation practices that can be included in your Healthy Soils Program grant application. Definitions and standards of each practices are provided by the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

Cropland practices:

  • Cover cropping
    • Planting a crop that will not be harvested or grazed. This can improve water holding capacity and penetration and soil fertility but it can also increase irrigation needs. 
  • Conservation crop rotation
    • A planned crop rotation that uses the qualities of the different crops to reduce erosion and nutrient loss 
  • Mulching
    • Applying plant residues, like wood chips, dead cover crops, or compost, to the land. 
  • Nutrient management that reduces synthetic fertilizer use by 15%
    • Producing a nutrient management plan that improves nutrient application efficiency and timing so that overall synthetic fertilizer use decreases by at least 15% 
  • No till
    • Managing crops without disturbing the soil with tillage operations. 
  • Reduced till
    • Managing crops by only tilling the soil when absolutely necessary and leaving as much soil undisturbed as possible 
  • Strip cropping
    • Growing strips of erosion-resistant crops in between the strips of crops that are more susceptible to erosion, to decrease the overall erosion potential of a field 

Compost Application Practices:

  • Compost Application to Annual Crops
    • Compost Purchased from a Certified Facility
    • On-farm Produced Compost
  • Compost Application to Perennials, Orchards and Vineyards
    • Compost Purchased from a Certified Facility
    • On-farm Produced Compost

Eligible compost application rates:

Crop Type Compost Type Short tons/acre
Annuals  Higher N (C:N < 11) 3-5
" Lower N (C:N > 11) 6-8
Perennials/Trees Higher N (C:N < 11) 2-4
" Lower N (C:N > 11) 6-8
Rangelands Lower N (C:N > 11) 6-8

Herbaceous Cover Establishment:

Woody Cover Establishment:

Grazing Lands Practices:

  • Compost application to grassland - the compost can be purchased or made on-farm, but must be certified. See specifications above.
  • Prescribed grazing
    • Managing livestock grazing to maximize economic and ecological benefits 
  • Range planting
    • Planting perennial vegetation to improve grazing quality and decrease erosion 
  • Silvopasture
    • Using trees and shrubs to improve forage quality and decrease erosion