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Soil Health

Soil Health in Delaware

Healthy soil is the key to making farms more productive, profitable and resilient—and better prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Soil health is also important to every U.S. consumer because cover crops and soil health management systems positively impact drinking water quality, and usability of recreational surface waters. Those systems reduce sediment loss from farms; sequester carbon, and create biodiversity in our rural landscape.

The resources on this section of our site are designed to help you understand the basics and benefits of soil health—and to learn about Soil Health Management Systems from some of the farmers who are using those systems.


Delaware's Soil Health Farmer Profiles:

Brad Ritter, Sussex County, Del.
Early Strip-Till Returns Encourages Expermentation (as featured in Strip-Till Strategies) - Since carrying strip-tillage over to his black-eyed peas, Ritter has been able to reduce the amounts of trips across the field and also retire his chisel plow. Less stress on the tractor translates into a longer tractor life and fuel savings.

Chip Baker, Sussex County, Del.
“If we had known 25 years ago what we know now, then that’s what we would’ve been doing,” says Chip Baker, a Sussex County Delaware farmer. “This has changed the way I farm for good,” he says referring to his new understanding of soil health. In the last couple of years, Baker has planted cover crops on his 1,000-acre corn and soybean operation—keeping his ground covered all year around. And he’s seeing some amazing benefits. Read more...

Bob Garey  & Chip Baker (featured in Outdoor Delaware magazine)- Leaving the soil in the best shape possible has always been a goal for Chip Baker of Sussex County, Delaware. While Kent County farmer Bob Garey long history with no-till and recent experience with cover crops has him seeing the beneficial gains of soil health firsthand. To read more about their stories and their experiences, click here.


Delaware's Soil Health Technical Committee:

During the NRCS National Cover Crop and Soil Health Forum on February 18, 2014, NRCS professionals, partners and farmers agreed to move forward with a soil health technical committee in Delaware. This group would serve as the technical base for determining next steps and future activities to move soil health forward in Delaware. For more information on the Soil Health Technical Committee, please contact Sally Kepfer at 302-678-4182 or


Multiple resources can be found in the Unlock the Secrets in the Soil section of the NRCS website to educate all about the basics and benefits of soil health.

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