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Soil Health Program

Click here to learn more about the 2nd Biannual Soil Health in the West Conference being held on February 6 – 8, 2024.

2023 Soil Health Equipment Grant

Implementing soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till has shown to improve the overall health of the soil. But many of these practices also require the purchase of specialized equipment that can be costly. In an effort to overcome some of these barriers and allow Utah’s farmers and ranchers the opportunity to try these practices, the Utah Soil Health Program is offering a grant to organizations that work directly with farmers and rancher to help purchase equipment related to implementing soil health and make it available to producers around the state.

Eligible equipment is required to have a tie to implementing one of the following soil health principles:

  1. Keeping the soil covered.
  2. Minimizing soil disturbance (physical or chemical)
  3. Maximizing biodiversity
  4. Keeping a living root as long as possible
  5. Integrating livestock.

Application may include accessories and supportive equipment needed for the operation and or transportation of the soil health equipment being purchased.

Each grant application funding request will be capped at $50,000 maximum with a minimum of 20% matching funds. The match requirement must be in the form of a financial contribution (no in-kind match).

All applications are required to have at least one conservation district as a fiscal partner. All reimbursement payments under the grant will be made to the conservation district. Projects / Equipment must be in Utah.

Please submit the completed application electronically in PDF form via email to A printed (typed) application may be submitted via mail to:

Utah Soil Health Program – UDAF C/O Tony Richards
PO Box 146500
Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6500

All applications must be received via email or postmarked by August 18th, 2023. Applications received after this date will not be considered for funding. All applications must be signed by a representative of each partner involved to be considered complete.

All negligible applications will be reviewed and ranked by the Utah Soil Health Advisory Committee.

Click here to request an in-field soil health assessment.

UDAF’s Utah Soil Health Program was created during the 2021 General Session (HB0296) to recognize soil health as essential to protecting the state’s soil and water resources, bolstering the state’s food supply, and sustaining the state’s agricultural industry.

The purpose of the program is to promote the adoption of soil health practices through increasing our understanding of soil health and its impacts on the productivity, economics, and environmental aspects of agriculture as well as how it benefits the general public of Utah.

The program uses a voluntary / incentive based approach through domestication, education, and research along with implementation projects to promote soil health benefits. Working with multiple partners, agencies, and stakeholders to combine efforts, and acquire funding and grants to implement projects under the umbrella of the Utah Soil Health Partnership (USHP).

Interested in learning more about soil health and how to implement it in your operation? Reach out to our program staff. 

Soil Health Planner – Northern Utah
Corey Schelleneger
(907) 580-6605
Soil Health Planner – Southern Utah
Quade Fautin
(385) 501-9519
Soil Health Program Manager
Tony Richards


Learn more about the Utah Soil Health Program here:

Current Projects:

How Healthy Are Your Soils? Request a FREE Soil Health Assessment

What is an in-field soil health assessment?

An in-field soil health assessment uses a set of simple tests and observations to estimate the overall health of the soil in a field. These measurements and observations look at the following soil components.

    • Soil Cover
    • Residue Breakdown
    • Surface Crust
    • Ponding / Infiltration
    • Penetration Resistance
    • Water Stable Aggregates
    • Soil Structure
    • Soil Color
    • Plant Roots
    • Biological Diversity
    • Bipores

Based on the results the overall health of the soil is estimated and used to identify if the soil has one of the following resource concerns.

    • Compaction
    • Soil Organism Habitat Loss
    • Soil Organic Matter Depletion
    • Aggregate Instability

Using this information we can develop a soil health plan for the field that will combine your goals, with identified resource concerns to recommend some soil health practices. Soil health practices include.

    • No-till / Direct Seeding
    • Cover Crops
    • Soil Amendments / Composting
    • Interseeding
    • Integrating Grazing

Request a Soil Health Assessment by clicking here.

Utah Soil Health Network On-Farm Soil Health Demonstration Project

The Utah Soil Health Partnership with funding from the USDA NRCS is developing the Utah Soil Health Network. This 5 year project is designed to increase our understanding of how best to implement soil health practices into Utah’s various farming systems. Data is being collected from each site to understand the impacts of soil health practices on the agronomic, economic, environmental and social aspects of each operation.

Program participants receive annual incentive payments for keeping records, maintaining test plots and implementing practices.

Additional Details:

    • 5 Year Project
    • 17 demonstration sites will be selected from around the state
    • Trials will be up to 50 acres in size (several soil health and conventional strips)
    • Sites are being used to host farm field days
    • USU and USHP are collecting soil, crop, and water samples from each site.
    • Participants are being interviewed annually about the project and impacts it is having on their operation.
    • Agronomic, economic, environmental and social impacts of implementing soil health practices such as cover crops, no-till, integrated grazing and others are the main focus of the project.
    • Data collected will be compiled into reports and factsheets for the public
    • Combinations of soil planners, USU extension agents, and crop advisors are working with each participant to develop an individual soil health plan for each site that will be followed for 5 years. Technical assistance will be provided to the participant throughout the project.

Click here to view the Utah Soil Health Network On-Farm Trial Participant Report November 2022


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