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Dig A Little, Learn A Lot

Soil Title - Dig

When you dig a little, you'll learn a lot about the health of your soil. The resources on this page are provided to help you understand the fundamentals of soil ecology and what you can do to build soil health on your farm or ranch. Landowners can also learn more about how to work with their farming partners to increase their land’s long-term production potential.

By digging around a little on this site, you’re likely to learn a lot – and “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” as you do.

5 Questions graphicFact sheet: 5 questions landowners should ask their farmers about soil health
When farmers use soil health management systems, they’re building the soil AND they’re also building the land’s production potential over the long-term. But how do landowners know if their tenants are doing everything they need to do to make and keep their soil healthy? Barry Fisher, an Indiana farmer and nationally recognized soil health specialist with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, recommends they ask their farming partner these five questions.
                                                                 Learn more in this fact sheet. (PDF, 3MB)

Life Thumb Soil Health

Healthy Soils Are…Fact sheets

This series of one-page (front/back) fact sheets examine the major characteristics of healthy soil.

In these fact sheets you’ll learn that Healthy Soils Are…

  • Full of Life,
  • High in Organic Matter,
  • Covered All the Time, and
  • Well Structured
Soil Health Matters mother nature
Soil health matters – a lot. Find out why it matters to your agricultural operation – and learn what you can do to improve the health of your soil from some of the nation’s leading experts on soil health management systems. These feature articles examine topics including Make your soil healthier; Don’t till it. Cover it.; Add organic matter; Get more from cover crop mixes; and Innovate to improve soil health. Read more
Soil Health Nugget
Soil Health Nuggets - There are some remarkable things going underground that might just amaze you. This publication provides readers with 10 soil health fun facts that might cause you to look at soil (and the way we treat it) in a whole new light. Read More

Soil Biology

The creatures living in the soil are critical to soil health. They affect soil structure and therefore soil erosion and water availability. They can protect crops from pests and diseases. They are central to decomposition and nutrient cycling and therefore affect plant growth and amounts of pollutants in the environment. Finally, the soil is home to a large proportion of the world's genetic diversity.

Learn more about soil biology.

The Soil Food Web