Soil Health in Michigan

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 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.

Profile in Soil Health - NRCS State Agronomist Jerry Grigar

NRCS State Agronomist Jerry Grigar on his farm in Gratiot CountyNRCS State Agronomist Jerry Grigar credits over 30 years of no-till on his 140-acre farm in Gratiot County for higher yields in rain-challenged growing seasons. Learn more...

Earth Day 2014

Rose Lake Plant Materials Center Agronomist John Durling explains the importance of cover crops to soil health at an Earth Day event in Lansing.

NRCS staff presented information on the benefits of cover crops on soil health and the environment at an Earth Day event hosted by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Students from schools as far away as Grand Rapids and Flint, as well as local students, attended the event held near the Michigan capitol on April 22. The NRCS exhibit demonstrated how cover crops reduce soil erosion and the different types of cover crops planted by Michigan Farmers.

Michigan Soil Health Links

Healthy Soils Produce Healthy Crops (USDA SARE)
National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health - Includes links to presentations from Feb. 2014 conference
Michigan Cover Crops - Michigan State University
Midwest Cover Crops Council

NRCS National Soil Health Awareness Web page - More Soil Health Resources including Fact Sheets, Videos, Downloadable Infographics and more

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.

Explore the Science of Soil Health

Purdue’s Dr. Eileen KladivkoWhen we use tillage the soil ecosystem is disturbed on a massive scale.  Purdue’s Dr. Eileen Kladivko contrasted natural ecosystems with tilled systems and what we stand to lose when soils are tilled. Watch the video:The Science of Soil Health: What Happens When You Till?

Profiles in Soil Health

Rodney Rulon’s “Profile in Soil HealthRodney Rulon and his family were a little bit reluctant to get started with cover crops. They didn’t have any experience with covers, and so they started with about 60 acres their first year. But the Arcadia, Indiana family soon saw the benefits and now have about 3,000 acres “under cover.” More importantly, they’re very pleased with the results. Watch the video: Profile in soil health: Rodney Rulon.

Newspaper/Magazine Info-Graphics

Infographic Web CopyThere are a lot of interesting facts about healthy soil. Check out these informative graphics to unlock some of the secrets in healthy soil. Newspaper, magazine and newsletter editors are encouraged to download and publish these graphics (royalty-free) to help their readers discover some of the interesting facts at our feet.