Skip Navigation

Soil Health

Soil Health Heading

 

Soil Health Quality - Soil quality, also referred to as soil health, is defined as how well soil does what we want it to do. Healthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes.

This site includes an overview of basic soil quality concepts, a soil quality glossary, and the online Soil Biology Primer. The site also features content focused on the role and benefits of soil organic matter, soil quality indicators and assessments, and soil quality management for major land uses. The publications section provides numerous fact and information sheets, NRCS technical notes, and posters for training and display.

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.

5 Principles Of Soil Health

Principle 1: Soil armor Principle 2: Minimizing soil disturbance Principle 3: Plant diversity Principle 4: Continual live plant/root Principle 5: Livestock integration

 

The Soil Health foundation consists of five principles which are: soil armor, minimizing soil disturbance, plant diversity, continual live plant/root, and livestock integration. 

Please click on a photo to the left to be taken to one of the five principles or Continue Reading...

 

North Dakota Takes Soil Health Internationally

 

South Africa      De Wet Coetzee performing an infiltration demonstration on one of his fields

Sharing Soil Health Principles on an International Scale

It all started in 2014 with an email from a South African study group, inquiring about a proposed visit to the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District’s Menoken Farm. The Elandslaagte Study Group is holistic minded, with a goal of farming with nature and a lifelong learning culture. Their membership is diverse and actively applies soil health principles to the landscape. Continue reading...

PDF File FormatSharing Soil Health Principle on an International Scale (PDF; 413 KB)

 

 

 

 

Soil Health Case Study: Coetzee Ranch in South Africa

The Coetzee Ranch is located in the Free State province of South Africa. De Wet and his wife Heleen are holistic management practitioners and approach resource management with holism in mind. The Coetzee’s and their four children have lived on the ranch for many years.
One glance at the beef cow herd shows cattle who are adapted to their environment, with good vigor and health. The Coetzee’s practice careful culling, removing weak links from the herd, much like the role the lion plays in its natural setting. One beneficial example of their past management is a cow herd which no longer requires routine dipping to control ticks. Continue Reading..

PDF File FormatSoil Health Case Study: Coetzee Ranch in South Africa (PDF; 6.57 MB)

 

Soil Health Information

 

Links to Useful Soil Health Publications

 

Sign up for E-mail updates on Soil Health Awareness    

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. 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 please visit the National Soil Health Page.

Contact Information:

Jay D. Fuhrer
Soil Health Specialist
(701) 530-2011
 
Wade D. Bott
State Soil Scientist
(701) 530-2021
(701) 426-3391 (cell)