Soil Health Awareness - Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

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Unlock the Secrets in the SoilSoil is a living and life-giving natural resource. 

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 conservation endeavors of our time.

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.

Soil Health Across the Nation

NEW Soil Health map 2014

A growing number of America’s farmers are using soil health management systems to improve the health and function of their soil—and we’re working hand-in-hand with these producers through our technical and financial assistance programs and services to help ensure their success. Click here to use the interactive map and find out what’s happening in your state regarding soil health and learn more about some of the farmers who are unlocking the secrets in the soil.

David Brewer, The Dalles, OregonFeatured “Profile in Soil Health”

David Brewer, The Dalles, Oregon
Read more.

Vote and help promote Soil Health

Soil Health AD halfpage NRCS has developed a series of soil health print ads to help consumers better understand the basics and benefits of soil health—and one of them will become a full-sized poster. Click here to vote for your favorite soil health print ad today and help us select a winner that will become our national poster in 2015. Once the winner is chosen and printed, you’ll be able to order one, free of charge, for your home, office or school. Vote as often as you’d like and please feel free to ask others to vote, too!

After voting, you can  view the results to see which ad is currently in the lead. Please vote today!

Explore the Science of Soil Health

RayWeil Soil Health imageBringing back the brassicas: Research team resurrects key soil health-improving cover crop

Despite their initial inclusion in the U.S.’ no-till revolution in the 1970s, cover crops were largely set aside as farmers focused mainly on leaving dead crop residue on the soil’s surface. As a result, many soil health benefits were not fully realized.

The story was different in South America, however, where cover crops (especially brassica cover crops) have always been an important component in soil health management systems. Now, thanks in large part to Dr. Ray Weil's Brassica Research Team, brassicas are back—and an increasing number of farmers are putting them to work in their fields. Learn more about the Weil Brassica Research Team in the latest episode of NRCS’ The Science of Soil Health. Watch the three-minute videoIt’s science you can really dig!

Profiles in Soil Health

Undercover webUnder 'Cover' Farmers documentary passes 100,000 YouTube views

Researcher and filmmaker Buz Kloot's 30-minute documentary, Under ‘cover’ farmers of Stanley County, chronicles the journeys of three North Carolina farmers as they discover and adopt soil health management systems on their farms. Recently, the video passed 100,000 YouTube views. Kloot's video work, including Season One of The Science of Soil Health and Soil Health Lessons in a Minute, is part of an on-going partnership between NRCS and the University of South Carolina and can be seen in NRCS’ Soil Health Theater.