Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

Experts say improving soil health would benefit climate — from Western Farm Press

Soil held in the palm of a hand

Note — The 6th annual meeting of the Soil Health Institute was held last week.

Story by Lee Allen

Organizers called it “Enriching Soil, Enhancing Life,” because soil is a living, life-giving natural resource — one that needs to be respected in order for it to keep working properly.

“As world population and food production demands rise, keeping soil healthy and productive is of paramount importance,” according to the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“By farming, in accordance with soil health principles and systems that include no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, more and more farmers are actually increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity. As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water infiltration, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields,” they report.

The Soil Health Institute, charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, and members of the agriculture industry held their 6th annual meeting (last) week by offering a variety of plenary sessions.

“We’re at a critical juncture in the fight against climate change,” according to the Institute’s CEO, Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, who said recent science behind soil health could empower implementation of practices that would not only benefit farmers livelihoods, but significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient runoff.”

Pretty much everyone agreed that health soils were the foundation for rejuvenating the land to mitigate the effects of climate change and help agriculture meet both environmental and production goals at scale.

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