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Soil Health

Soil Health in Utah

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.

For more information in Utah, contact Niels Hansen, NRCS state agronomist at 801-524-4568, or visit your local NRCS field office.

Profiles in Soil Health

Cache Valley farmer Todd Ballard

Cache Valley farmer Todd Ballard describes his no-till soil health system on his irrigated farmCache Valley farmer Todd Ballard describes his no-till soil health system on his irrigated farm.  He studied his options well and began his soil health system five years ago.  He now can document cost savings as well as improved productivity.  If you have concerns about no-tilling on irrigated land, see how he uses strip-till in the fall for flood irrigation. Watch the video:  No-till on irrigated land.


 


Northern Utah dryland farmer Clair Zollinger

Northern Utah dryland farmer Clair Zollinger explains how no-till farming works.Northern Utah dryland farmer Clair Zollinger explains how no-till farming works on their dry land farm to conserve moisture and improve yields.  He shows how his direct seeding equipment works on CRP land coming back into crop production.  Watch the video:  No-till dryland farming.


 


NRCS State Agronomist Niels Hansen

NRCS State Agronomist Niels Hansen demonstrates the soil quality differences between two pieces of lNRCS State Agronomist Niels Hansen demonstrates the soil quality differences between two pieces of land across the fence from each other.  Using the shovel test, he shows how the conventional tillage land is compact and hard, as compared to land that has been in the Conservation Reserve Program for many years.  The difference is very obvious.  Watch the video:  Soil Health and Productivity.

 


Soil Health Training

Idaho NRCS State Agronomist Marlon Winger and Montana NRCS Area Agronomist Mark Henning conducted aIdaho NRCS State Agronomist Marlon Winger and Montana NRCS Area Agronomist Mark Henning conducted a soil health training session in Ogden, Utah, in the summer of 2013.  They describe the benefits of soil health systems and then demonstrate a few tests that show the soil structure and water-holding capacity differences of no-till vs. conventional till soils.  Watch the video:  NRCS Soil Health Training in Utah.
 


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?


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.