Governor Signs Bill to Help Farmers Adapt to Climate Change

Published on: September 15, 2016

State Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Solano, chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Resources, Environmental Protection, Energy and Transportation, applauded Gov. Jerry Brown’s approval this week of numerous budget measures on resources, including a number of bills to help the state reach its climate change goals.

The governor signed legislation Wednesday establishing a $7.5 million Healthy Soils Program to support agricultural practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon in soil, trees and plants. The bill, which funds the state’s cap-and-trade program, includes the language of Wolk’s Senate Bill 1350 to establish and fund the Healthy Soils Program.

“By providing farmers and ranchers with greater access to programs and other resources, the state will not only help agriculture adapt to climate change but will also help this sector play an important role in addressing climate change by reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and storing, or sequestering, carbon in the soil,” Wolk said in a press release. “I applaud the governor’s decision to establish and fund the Healthy Soils program, as well as other important programs such as those to provide clean drinking water to disadvantaged communities and protect our state’s natural resources.”

Senate Bill 859 will establish a Healthy Soils Program to support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural operations and increase carbon sequestration, or storage, in agricultural soil. Benefits to increased health of agricultural soils include the ability to store more carbon and other greenhouse gases through sequestration, provide more nutrients for plants, retain more water, and reduce erosion — resulting in improved air and water quality, water conservation, enhanced wildlife habitat and healthy rural communities.