BROOMFIELD, Colo. — The Colorado Department of Agriculture is seeking applications for volunteers to serve on its Soil Health Program Advisory Committee to advise the department and the commissioner on matters regarding the newly formed Soil Health Program (HB 21-1181).
The Soil Health Program Advisory Committee provides a critical link between CDA and agricultural producers, water users, and others with expertise in soil health. The committee will be appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture and is responsible for approving soil health grants proposed by the department and assisting in the development of CDA’s Voluntary Soil Health Program (Title 35, Article 73).
“Farmers and ranchers are the greatest stewards of Colorado’s working lands and we want to support them in their endeavors to employ soil practices that both improve their land and make business sense,” said Cindy Lair, program manager for the Colorado State Conservation Board. “The Advisory Committee will provide feedback and diverse perspectives to guide planning, implementation, and evaluation of soil health programs and grant opportunities. Healthy soil is a leading strategy for fostering responsible stewardship of our natural resources and CDA is committed to helping agricultural producers continue to enhance their soil health activities.”
Soil Health Program Advisory Committee members provide advice and consultation to the commissioner and program staff on the establishment of a soil health grant program and other strategies for driving voluntary farmer — and rancher — led stewardship.
Committee members meet quarterly. Approximately half of the initial members will be appointed for two years, with the remaining members appointed for the regular four year term to ensure around half of the members’ terms expire every two years. Members may be nominated to serve two successive terms.
Specifically, per statute, applications are sought for the following positions: one irrigated crop producer; one dryland crop producer; one rancher; one organic producer; one crop consultant; one representative of an Indian Tribe; one representative with expertise in soil carbon storage and natural climate mitigation; two members of the board of the Colorado Association of Conservation Districts; one water user from east of the Continental Divide who owns, leases, or represents owners of adjudicated water rights used for agriculture, including members of a ditch corporation, acequia, or a shareholder or parciante of either; and one water user from west of the Continental Divide who owns, leases, or represents owners of adjudicated water rights used for agriculture, including members of a ditch corporation, acequia, or a shareholder or parciante of either.
The Ex Officio members on the Advisory Committee shall be representatives of: one member from the Colorado Water Conservation Board; one member from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; one member from Colorado State University.
In addition, the committee will include two members of the Colorado State Conservation Board, one of whom will serve as the chair of the committee.
Applications are due Nov. 30, 2021. The application form is available online.
CDA welcomes applications from those interested in serving. People from diverse constituencies and communities of color are encouraged to apply.
Participation in the advisory committee is voluntary and members receive no compensation for their service. However, members may be reimbursed for travel and expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.