What is Soil Health?

Did you know that soil is a living, breathing organism that needs to be taken care of? It is the key to an abundant, affordable food supply, healthy water, and clean air. Healthy soil is full of bacteria, fungi, and insects that, together with living plant roots, access available water and form a complex food web beneath our feet. This allows soil to provide more nutrients and water to plants, resist erosion, and pull and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

For decades agriculture has focused on the soil surface. How to fertilize, how to apply pesticides and herbicides, and till in an attempt to yield the most productive crops. Research now tells us that these methods actually harm the soil organisms responsible for decomposing and storing the organic matter that adds nutrients and retains soil moisture. In traditional farming, tillage is used to break up the ground in order to kill weeds and facilitate easier planting. We now know the enormous amount of disturbance inflicted upon the soil by tilling destroys the delicate food web essential to long term soil productivity. With root and worm channels destroyed, the soil’s ability to take in water is significantly reduced, and water flows over the top carrying topsoil into rivers and lakes, instead of absorbing into the soil. The remaining exposed soil is easily blown away in the wind or washed away by rains, potentially causing damaging dust storms and erosion. Heavy tillage is what led to the devastating Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

We invite you to join us as we embrace, teach and grow the principles of soil health so that our agricultural production systems, food, air, and water quality can be conserved and protected for current and future generations.