(1) The commission shall develop a sustainable farms and fields grant program in consultation with the department of agriculture, Washington State University, and the United States department of agriculture natural resources conservation service.
(2) As funding allows, the commission shall distribute funds, as appropriate, to conservation districts and other public entities to help implement the projects approved by the commission.
(3) No more than 15 percent of the funds may be used by the commission to develop, or to consult or contract with private or public entities, such as universities or conservation districts, to develop:
(a) An educational public awareness campaign and outreach about the sustainable farm and field program; or
(b) The grant program, including the production of analytical tools, measurement estimation and verification methods, cost-benefit measurements, and public reporting methods.
(4) No more than five percent of the funds may be used by the commission to cover the administrative costs of the program.
(5) No more than 20 percent of the funds may be awarded to any single grant applicant.
(6) Allowable uses of grant funds include:
(a) Annual payments to enrolled participants for successfully delivered carbon storage or reduction;
(b) Up-front payments for contracted carbon storage;
(c) Down payments on equipment;
(d) Purchases of equipment;
(e) Purchase of seed, seedlings, spores, animal feed, and amendments;
(f) Services to landowners, such as the development of site-specific conservation plans to increase soil organic levels or to increase usage of precision agricultural practices, or design and implementation of best management practices to reduce livestock emissions;
(g) The purchase of compost spreading equipment, or financial assistance to farmers to purchase compost spreading equipment, for the annual use for at least three years of volumes of compost determined by the commission to be significant from materials composted at a site that is not owned or operated by the farmer;
(h) Scientific studies to evaluate and quantify the greenhouse gas emissions avoided as a result of using crop residues as a biofuel feedstock or to identify management practices that increase the greenhouse gas emissions avoided as a result of using crop residues as a biofuel feedstock;
(i) Efforts to support the farm use of anaerobic digester digestate, including scientific studies, education and outreach to farmers, and the purchase or lease of digestate spreading equipment; and
(j) Other equipment purchases or financial assistance deemed appropriate by the commission to fulfill the intent of RCW 89.08.610
(7) Grant applications are eligible for costs associated with technical assistance.
(8) Conservation districts and other public entities may apply for a single grant from the commission that serves multiple farmers.
(9) Grant applicants may apply to share equipment purchased with grant funds. Applicants for equipment purchase grants issued under this grant program may be farm, ranch, or aquaculture operations coordinating as individual businesses or as formal cooperative ventures serving farm, ranch, or aquaculture operations. Conservation districts, separately or jointly, may also apply for grant funds to operate an equipment sharing program.
(10) No contract for carbon storage or changes to management practices may exceed 25 years. Grant contracts that include up-front payments for future benefits must be conditioned to include penalties for default due to negligence on the part of the recipient.
(11) The commission shall attempt to achieve a geographically fair distribution of funds across a broad group of crop types, soil management practices, and farm sizes.
(12) Any applications involving state lands leased from the department of natural resources must include the department's approval.