USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) joins organizations around the world, including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in celebrating World Soil Day on Tuesday, December 5, 2023.
World Soil Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to proactively improve soil health. To emphasize the vital role soil plays, this year’s theme is “Soil and Water: A Source of Life.”
“Climate-smart ag and forestry and maintaining healthy soil and water through sustainable practices are key to supporting the increase of agricultural production to meet global food demand,” said Walter Marshall, Acting NRCS State Conservationist in Rhode Island. “NRCS supports Rhode Island agriculture and forests through key investments in soil health practices.”
NRCS works hand-in-hand with Rhode Island farmers and forest landowners to improve the health and function of their soil. Our customers increase their soil’s organic matter and improve microbial activity by adopting soil health principles and conservation practices like cover crops, crop rotation, no till, buffer strips, grassed waterways, and vegetative barriers, which are also climate-smart mitigation activities funded under the Inflation Reduction Act through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and the Conservation Stewardship Program. These practices can significantly decrease greenhouse gas emissions or increase carbon sequestration, while simultaneously improving soil health, water and air quality, pollinator and wildlife habitat, and farm/forest production.
- 95% of our food comes from soils, but it can take up to 1,000 years to form just 1 inch of soil.
- There are more living organisms in a tablespoon of soil than there are people on Earth!
- Every 1% increase is soil organic matter can yield up to 25,000 gallons of available soil water per acre.
- Healthy soil is made up of about 45% minerals, 25% water, 5% organic matter and 25% air.
Last year, NRCS helped Rhode Island farmers and forest landowners apply soil health practices on over 885 acres to sequester more carbon, increase water infiltration, improve wildlife and pollinator habitat, and harvest better profits and yields.
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