Colorado Coalition for Healthy Soils

Colorado’s diverse agricultural sector has a long legacy of land stewardship. In particular, farmers and ranchers across the state employ practices to manage and improve the health of their soil – practices which, in turn, minimize overhead costs, conserve water, reduce erosion, and increase yields. Over the past few years, many voices from Colorado’s farming and ranching communities have begun exploring ways that these management practices can be recognized and incentivized at a statewide level.

We believe that the time is right to unite these voices into a results-based collaborative that will guide the development of policies and programs to improve soil health on Colorado’s farm and ranch land.

Specifically, the Colorado Collaborative for Healthy Soils (CCHS) will:

  1. Convene stakeholders from multiple arenas. CCHS will be a forum for farmers, researchers, local practitioners, service providers, and policymakers to come together as we consider the best path forward for soil health policies and programs in Colorado.

  2. Gain input from a broad group of Colorado farmers and ranchers. CCHS aims to represent the diversity of the state’s agricultural community. As such, we seek participation from a wide spectrum of farmers and ranchers and are committed to remaining non-ideological and results-oriented. 

  3. Evaluate and synthesize program and policy options. CCHS members will work together to combine best practices from other states, proposals from coalition members, and stakeholder feedback into a consensus vision for soil health programming and policy that will benefit the greatest number of farmers and ranchers across the state.

  4. Guide our vision through legislative and rulemaking processes. CCHS members will work with CDA to provide feedback and input to its soil health program, and will draft language for a bill, identify sponsors, and gather stakeholders to testify as necessary.

Join the Collaborative 

As a trusted member of Colorado’s agricultural community, we value your input and think that you would make an ideal member of CCHA. Here’s what membership in the Collaborative would entail:

  • Active participation (either in-person or remote) in Collaborative meetings, held for two hours once a month between August 2019 and May 2020.

  • Membership in a relevant working group that will advance our priorities between meetings. Working group topics and chairs will be determined at our August meeting. 

  • Engaging your network at relevant steps in the process.

A wide group of stakeholders, including National Young Farmers Coalition, Cattlemans, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, The Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Corn Growers, Savory Institute, Holistic Management International, The Nature Conservancy, and many more, met last month to see if there was a shared interest in proceeding further. The outstanding turnout was certainly an indication that there is interest in exploring a range of options for the state. At the same time, it was also clear that we need a broader mix of voices that represent the full range of Colorado farms and ranches. In particular, we need more representation from outside the Front Range. Please forward this invitation along to help us make sure our August meeting has the right people in the room.

If you’re interested in learning more, you can participate in our August meeting with no commitment to further participation. There will be an option to officially join the Collaborative in September. We’ll be meeting mid-August 2019 at the Colorado Department of Agriculture (305 Interlocken Pkwy, Broomfield). At the meeting, we will:

  • Establish working groups and nominate leaders for each group

  • Learn about legislation that has occurred in other states

  • Discuss possible definitions for soil health / principles

  • Discuss governance structure, roles and timeline in detail

To RSVP, email max@madagriculture.org.