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STAR Plus Soil Health Program

Healthy soils help to capture and store water, improve nutrient cycling, help prevent erosion, increase drought resilience, and are the foundation of a healthy agricultural ecosystem.

The La Plata Conservation District has partnered with Mancos and High Desert Conservation Districts to offer this 3-year program which provides financial incentives for producers to implement new soil health practices on their farm or ranch.  

Mancos Conservation District has received funding for a new STAR Plus enrollment for the years 2024 through 2026. Mancos Conservation District is accepting applications for additional STAR Plus Participants, the application deadline is Septhember 30th. Please click here for an application.

In 2021, the Mancos Conservation District partnered with the High Desert Conservation District to secure funding to help local producers understand and improve their soil health by using soil techniques to reduce nutrient and soil losses in their fields. The District is providing funding for producers to implement resilient soil health practices, such as no-till seed drilling, planting cover crops, and contour farming. This project is ongoing and will continue through 2024 with funding from the Colorado Department of Agriculture to support the District and the Colorado.

MCD and HDCD are in year 2 of the 3-year program. Seven participating producers with a combined 453 enrolled acres have incorporated various soil health practices into their land management, including planting cover crops, incorporating rotational grazing, and applications of biochar, humate, and compost. Soil samples taken at years 1 and 3 will be tested and compared to determine if soil health indicators improved over time. The goal is to improve soil health within their operations. STAR Plus practices were financially incentivized by the Colorado Department of Agriculture for a total payout of $19,089.00 straight to participating producers.