Indiana farmers are on a Health Kick! Soil Health is soil managed to its maximum potential through a system of conservation practices, including never-till, cover crops, advanced nutrient and pest management, and buffers and drainage systems where appropriate. This approach results in healthy soil that reduces erosion, requires less nutrient inputs, manages the effects of flood and drought, and reduces nutrient and sediment loading to streams and rivers. Indiana success with this approach, being promoted through the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative, is getting national attention and will be a focus of NRCS this year.
Soil is a living and life-giving substance, without which we would perish. As 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 and ranchers feed the world more profitably and sustainably – now and for generations to come.
The resources on this soil health section of our site are designed to help visitors understand the basics and benefits of soil health – and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from farmers who are using those systems.
Indiana NRCS leadership will make the relentless pursuit of functioning soil health a priority for all NRCS employees in Indiana. This decision is based on the positive resource benefits achieved from the promotion of soil health through conservation cropping systems across the state over the past several years.
The Indiana Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative (CCSI) promotes a systematic approach to production agriculture focusing on continuous no-till/strip till, cover crops, precision farming, and nutrient and pest management. This will result in improved soil quality, water quality and profitability on Indiana cropland. The CCSI is a resource for the 92 Indiana Soil and Water Conservation Districts to carry out their conservation cropping systems goals and objectives.
A new report from the USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) indicates that farmers who used cover crops in drought-affected parts of the country last summer had better corn and soybean yields than those who didn’t. Cover crops are a critical management component in soil health management systems.
For more information about Soil Health, contact Barry Fisher at: 317-295-5850.