90 seconds to discover a new "Hope in healthy soil"
I am proud to be a “soil health geek.” I didn’t seek to become a geek, but the more I’ve learned about our living and life-giving soil, the more I’ve become convinced this miracle under our feet holds the promise of our future.
That’s why I was genuinely excited to write and produce a new 90-second web public service ad titled The Hope in Healthy Soil, which is part of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Unlock the Secrets in the Soil Campaign. The video is also part of our agency’s International Year of Soils celebration.
Like many of you, I have come to realize that without healthy soil, life as we know it would not exist. However, for years it was believed that the best hope for our precious soil was to slow its rate of erosion—to retard its inevitable decline.
Fortunately, a growing number of pioneering farmers, researchers and conservationists have shown us that we can actually build our soils—make them more productive, profitable and resilient to weather extremes like drought.
By farming using soil health principles and practices like no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations, farmers are actually increasing organic matter in their soil, increasing microbial activity, sequestering more carbon, improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields. Off the farm, these practices are improving water and air quality, too.
Increasingly, these farmers are adopting soil health management systems, and in so doing, they are growing a new hope in healthy soil.
Which makes me a very proud and optimistic “soil health geek.” Long live the soil!
The views expressed here belong to the speaker and do not necessarily represent FAO’s views, positions, strategies or opinions.
Submitted by Ron Nichols
While I believe that anything to promote awareness of soil is good, I would just like to point out something that you state which doesn't ring true.
You imply, as I interpreted it, that while it was previously believed that the best hope for soil was to slow the rate of erosion, it is now being shown that we can build our soils instead. I think it needs to be pointed out that the methods you describe to 'build soil' are in fact improving it by reducing erosion directly (such as no-tillage) and adding organic matter to soil, which helps increase resistance to erosion. These are good management techniques to follow, regardless of the means by which they improve soil quality, but I thought that it needed to be highlighted that these practices improve soil, BY reducing erosion rather than INSTEAD of reducing erosion (in addition to increasing soil organism activity and improving soil structure, which incidentally further helps reduce erosion!).
Regards from your fellow soil enthusiast,