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Soil Health Awareness - Unlock the Secrets in the Soil

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Soil 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. By farming using soil health principles and systems that include no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, more and more farmers are actually increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity. As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields.

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.

Jesse Sanchez, Firebaugh, CaliforniaFeatured profile
in soil health

Jesse Sanchez, Firebaugh, California
Read more. Watch the video (3:13).


Soil Health Announcements

Hope in Soil image 90 seconds to discover a new “Hope in healthy soil”
Web ad points to promising global solutions under foot

To most people, soil is far from huggable.

But after watching a new, 90-second YouTube ad, the video’s producers hope viewers will embrace it with new-found respect and admiration. Because healthy soil, the ad suggests, could provide solutions to some of our planet’s biggest challenges.

Watch the 90-second ad. Share the link and share the hope.

Soil Health Quiz

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USDA-NRCS – Are you a “Soil Health Scholar?” Find out with our new, on-line quiz!

Healthy soil is fundamental to life. But how much do you really know about it? This fun, 10-question quiz will challenge your knowledge, and will help you discover your soil health I.Q. And, anyone who plays can print out a graduation certificate upon completion. Find out if you’re a “Soil Health Scholar,” a “Soil Healthy Smarty-Pants” or if you “Love the Soil.”

This is one test we think you’ll really dig! Take the quiz . And then share your results with your friends and followers on Facebook or Twitter. It’s fun and informative

Science of Soil Health Videos

Dr. Ray Weil, author of the 15th edition of The Nature and Property of SoilsWant access to water, nutrients? Look deeper, expert tells farmers

The scientist who wrote the book on soils wants farmers to look deeper. Literally. Dr. Ray Weil, author of the 15th edition of The Nature and Property of Soils, wants farmers to consider the soil’s nutrient and water-holding capacity below the top 8-10 inches of soil. Unfortunately, decades of heavy machine traffic on the soil’s surface, combined with tillage, have created nearly impenetrable layers of dense soil called “plow-pans,” which make it difficult (if not impossible) for most crops to reach what Weil describes as a tank of moisture and nutrients below the topsoil. To access those nutrients and moisture, farmers should consider using cover crops to tap into that reservoir with plow-pan-busting roots, he says. Go underground with Dr. Weil in this Science of Soil Health video to learn more (3:48). It’s science you can really dig.