Some of compost’s most valuable benefits yield from its ability to efficiently build and bolster soil health. Compost application increases soil organic matter, in turn reducing the need for chemical fertilizers, building soil biodiversity, decreasing the likelihood of plant disease and pest issues, increasing soil capacity to absorb water, and building soil’s overall resilience to extreme weather. Thus, compost’s role in building soil health is particularly important to farmers for maintaining farm soil health.
Application of compost to soils not only builds healthier soils, but also contributes to carbon sequestration and storage. In accordance with soil health science, many state and local governments are enacting policy measures that consider the benefits of composting with the understanding of soil’s ability to preserve ecosystems, bolster biodiversity, support food systems, build resilience, and even mitigate climate change. Featured here are examples of policies that aim to bring these benefits of soil health and carbon sequestration to fruition through the encouragement of soil-supportive practices.
*Not all model legislation actually makes it into law. Check out this crowd-sourced State healthy soils policy tracker map that includes passed, drafted, and related policy as well as policy activity on healthy soils.
California – Healthy Soils Program
Hawaii – Greenhouse Gas Sequestration Task Force
New York – Soil Health and Climate Resiliency