Every Dec. 5, the U.S. Department of Agriculture joins partners around the globe to celebrate World Soil Day, an annual event to bring attention to the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for sustainable management of soil resources. 

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Idaho is joining other organizations around the world, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, to raise awareness on the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being. Soil is a living and life-giving natural resource and you can learn more from the NRCS website.

This year’s theme, “Stop soil erosion, save our future,” focuses on addressing the increasing challenges in soil management by the many benefits of healthy soil. Governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world are encouraged to engage in proactively improving soil health.

American farmers and ranchers play a large part in conserving and maintaining healthy soils on their land. NRCS is proud to work hand-in-hand with these producers to improve the health and function of their soil through voluntary conservation programs.

Soil erosion is one of the greatest challenges for sustainable soil management. In fact, NRCS was born out of the need to stop soil erosion during the Dust Bowl. Between the late 1800s and 1930, there are reports of more than 100 million acres of land that was plowed. Since then, our programs have expanded to conserve and improve many of our natural resources. NRCS has been working with producers to protect natural resources for more than 80 years.

Our producers have a strong tie to their land and want to protect and improve the land for future generations. Many producers have adapted soil health principles and systems including no-till, cover cropping and diverse rotations to increase their soil’s organic matter and improve microbial activity.

In Idaho, NRCS has been working with producers to increase their use of cover crops, reduced-till and no-till practices, and more diverse crop rotations.

As a result, farmers are sequestering more carbon, increasing water filtration and improving wildlife and pollinator habitat—all while harvesting better profits and often better yields. If you farm or ranch, and you’re interested in improving soil health on your land, we encourage you to contact your local NRCS field office. Learn more by visiting farmers.gov/service-locator.

Curtis Elke is Idaho state conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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