AGRICULTURE - Healthy Soils Task Force; duties.

Published: 2019

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(1) The Healthy Soils Task Force shall:

(a) Develop a comprehensive healthy soils initiative for the State of Nebraska;

(b) Develop a comprehensive action plan to coordinate efforts to carry out such healthy soils initiative using standards for organic matter, biological activity, biological diversity, and soil structure as measures to assess improved soil health. The action plan shall set goals, formulate timelines for task completion, and determine resources required and resource availability. In developing the action plan, the task force shall examine:

(i) Issues related to providing farmers and ranchers with research, education, technical assistance, and demonstration projects;

(ii) Options for financial incentives to improve soil health; and

(iii) The contribution of livestock to soil health;

(c) Identify realistic and achievable goals and timelines for improvement of soil health in Nebraska through voluntary partnerships among agricultural producers and relevant state and local agencies and other public and private entities; and

(d) Review provisions of the federal Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, Public Law 115-334, and any implementing rules, regulations, and guidelines of the United States Department of Agriculture and identify opportunities to leverage state, local, or private funds under the Regional Conservation Partnership Program of the United States Department of Agriculture and other conservation programs for the purposes of the healthy soils initiative. Such information shall be included in the report issued pursuant to section 2-404.

(2) To carry out its duties, the Healthy Soils Task Force may consult other agencies or organizations, including, but not limited to, the University of Nebraska, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Farm Service Agency, and the Agricultural Research Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, the Soil Health Institute, the Soil Health Partnership, and other state and federal agencies or public or private organizations with responsibility or expertise in research, demonstration, education, advising, funding, or promotion relating to agronomic and other agricultural land management practices consistent with the purpose of the task force.