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News Release

USDA Celebrates World Soil Day in Oregon and Across the Globe

By Jay Gibbs, Oregon, Acting State Conservationist, Natural Resources Conservation Service

World Soil Day logo

Every December 5, USDA joins partners around the globe to celebrate World Soil Day, an annual event to bring attention to the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for sustainable management of soil resources.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Oregon is joining other organizations around the world, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource and you can learn more from the NRCS Oregon website.

This year’s theme “Stop soil erosion, save our future” focuses on addressing the increasing challenges in soil management by the many benefits of healthy soil. Governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world are encouraged to engage in proactively improving soil health.

American farmers and ranchers play a large part in conserving and maintaining healthy soils on their land. NRCS is proud to work hand-in-hand with these producers to improve the health and function of their soil through voluntary conservation programs.

Soil erosion is one of the greatest challenges for sustainable soil management. In fact, NRCS was born out of the need to stop soil erosion during the Dust Bowl. Between the late 1800s and 1930, there are reports of more than one hundred million acres of land that was plowed. Since then, our programs have expanded to conserve and improve many of our natural resources. NRCS has been working with producers to protect natural resources for more than 80 years.

Our producers have a strong tie to their land and want to protect and improve the land for future generations. Many producers have adapted soil health principles and systems including no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations in order to increase their soil’s organic matter and improve microbial activity.

Oregon farmers have demonstrated innovation and grit to build healthier soils on working lands. For example, a group of forward-thinking farmers in the Wallowa Valley have worked with NRCS for several years to experiment with cover crop mixes and integrating livestock into their management objectives with great success. View their story on the NRCS Oregon website.

Grazing lands have also benefitted in Oregon from soil health practices. Ranchers from communities across Eastern Oregon recently showcased their soil health strategies as part of an NRCS Soil Health tour in May of this year. View their story on the NRCS Oregon website.

As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water filtration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat – all while harvesting better profits and often better yields. If you farm or ranch, and you’re interested in improving soil health on your land, we encourage you to contact your local NRCS field office. Learn more by visiting farmers.gov/service-locator.

We also welcome soil health enthusiasts to join the Oregon Soil Health Partners group, which is an open group for the discovery, understanding and pursuit of soil health. To learn about upcoming events, listen to webinars and download soil health fact sheets, visit the partners webpage.

Jennifer Moffitt, soil scientist collecting soil sample Earthworm in soil close up Rancher Jack Southworth with soil
Jennifer Moffitt, soil scientist, collects a soil sample. A closeup of healthy, no-till soil with an earthworm. Rancher Jack Southworth holding healthy soil.

 

Published Dec. 4, 2019

News Release No. 2020-12-007

Media Contact: Tracy Robillard
Public Affairs Officer, NRCS Oregon
Phone: 503-414-3220
Email: tracy.robillard@usda.gov

 

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