Secrets in the Soil

unlock-soilSoil – a living and life-giving substance, without which we would perish.
As the world population and food production demands rise, keeping our soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance.  So much so that we believe improving the health of our Nation’s soil is one of the most important endeavors of our time.

By focusing more attention on soil health and by educating our customers and the public about the positive impact healthy soils can have on productivity and conservation, we can help our Nation’s farmers feed the world more profitably and sustainably – now and for generations to come.

Soil is made up of air, water, decayed plant residue, organic matter from living and dead organisms, and minerals, such as sand, silt and clay. Increasing soil organic matter typically improves soil health since organic matter affects several critical soil functions. Healthy soils are also porous, which allows air and water to move freely through them. This balance ensures a suitable habitat for the myriad of soil organisms that support growing plants.

It’s not difficult to improve soil health. Here’s how: till the soil as little as possible; grow as many different species of plants as possible through rotations and a diverse mixture of cover crops; keep living plants in the soil as long as possible with crops and cover crops; and keep the soil surface covered with residue year round.

Managing for soil health is one of  the easiest and most effective ways for farmers to increase crop productivity and profitability while improving the environment. Positive results are often realized within the first year, and last well into the future.

So whether you’re a farmer, a researcher, a conservationist, or an interested citizen, our partners – the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service – can help you understand the basics and benefits of soil health.   To “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil”, you can contact our office or visit the NRCS soil health webpage.

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