The bill creates the Colorado soil health program in the department of agriculture (department). The soil health program is voluntary. The department, commissioner of agriculture (commissioner), and state agricultural commission will administer the soil health program.
The department may establish the following:
- A system for monitoring the environmental or economic benefits of soil health practices;
- A state soil health inventory and platform;
- A soil health testing program; and
- Other programs the department deems appropriate or necessary.
Before establishing a system, inventory and platform, or program, the department must provide public notice and afford the public an opportunity to submit written comments.
The department may also:
- Seek, accept, and expend gifts, grants, or donations;
- Administer and expend the money from public and private sources;
- Provide grants, loans, and other resources to perform soil health activities; and
- Cooperate and collaborate with other people.
The bill also creates a soil health advisory committee (advisory committee). The commissioner is required to appoint members who represent the different geographic areas, political diversity, and demographic diversity of the state and include agricultural producers of diverse production systems. The advisory committee approves grants.
The advisory committee will make recommendations to the department and assist in the development of the soil health program. The advisory committee is also authorized to solicit input, review proposals and agreements, and evaluate the soil health program.
The department shall maintain the confidentiality of information related to private lands that identify landowners, land managers, agricultural producers, or lands.
No later than January 31 of each year, the department shall prepare and make available to the public a report of its activities on its official website. The department shall annually report each gift, grant, or donation in its budget request for the state fiscal year to the joint budget committee and at the hearing required by the "State Measurement for Accountable, Responsive, and Transparent (SMART) Government Act".
(Note: Italicized words indicate new material added to the original summary; dashes through words indicate deletions from the original summary.)
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)