Maine Soil Health Project

In partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and University of Maine Cooperative Extension, grants up to $5,000 will be awarded to 17 farmers for the purpose of reimbursing approved expenses for improving soil health. Technical assistance will also be provided for participants to develop soil health improvement plans, magnifying the impact of the direct investment.

This grant is designed to help specialty crop growers i.e, growers of fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture but excluding commodity crops) to implement healthy soil practices.

Project Description
Eligible projects are restricted to:
● Work with an agricultural consultant on fertility, crop planning, pest and disease management plans.
● Implementing new practices that are not yet covered by NRCS such as flame treatment of weeds, soil moisture monitoring supplies, electric pumps for existing irrigation systems, and tarping.
● Implementing practices that complement and increase the complexity of existing NRCS practices such as more complex soil amendments, mulches, seed for beneficial insect plantings.
● Rental use of a no-till drill or soil steamer from shared use equipment pools.
● Collaborative projects are allowed.
No construction projects will be funded.
 
Potential Project Goals & Ideas
Above are the parameters of what the grant can cover, and below are some examples you can refer to but not ones you are limited to. We encourage you to come up with your own cases for practices, and explanations for how they will help with your specific operation.
  • Maximize Presence of Living Roots
    • Cover cropping
    • Greater diversification of crop rotations
    • Double cropping
  • Minimize Disturbance
    • Organic reduced tillage approaches (roller-crimping, deep compost mulch, frost seeding, etc.)
    • Adopting zone tillage or strip tillage
    • Adopting new and/or longer crop rotations
  • Maximize Soil Cover
    • Apply organic mulches
    • Leave more crop residue on soil surface if rotation is not allowing a cover crop to be planted….
  • Maximize Biodiversity
    • Interplanting
    • Diverse cover crop mixes
    • Diverse crop rotations
    • Integrate livestock
 

Deadlines

November 1: Application available, apply below!

November 30: Application deadline, apply below!

Need more information? Connect with Anna Mueller: [email protected], (207) 568-6017.

Soil Health Workshop Series
Brought to you by the above partners, check out our upcoming Soil Health Series Workshops.
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