Soil

Healthy soil is the foundation for long-term success for all farms and ranches. Whether organic or conventional, raising livestock or crops, your operation will benefit when you continually improve your soil’s health. ATTRA’s soil resources can help you prevent soil erosion, increase soil organic matter and water holding capacity, manage soil fertility, and improve the profitability of your farm.

Unhealthy soil doesn’t absorb much water. Healthy soil acts like a sponge, capable of holding hundreds of thousands of gallons of water in an acre. Regenerative farming practices enable the soil to capture rainfall that otherwise might disappear as runoff. Economically, these practices can increase crop and forage production, drought resilience, access to lucrative new markets, and therefore profitability. Environmentally, they can improve soil health and biodiversity.

Soil for Water

Soil for Water supports an expanding network of farmers and ranchers who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil. The Soil for Water project grew out of the western megadrought, which is putting a strain on agricultural producers across the country.

The free and voluntary program combines the use of appropriate technology, peer-to-peer learning, and adaptive management to encourage the adoption of regenerative agricultural practices. The Soil for Water project is about building lasting infrastructure and connecting dynamic agricultural producers that will make farms, ranches, and communities more resilient in the face of persistent drought and other natural disasters.

Ellie Fleshman of Fleshman Farms in Teton County Montana USDA NRCS Flickr CC

Featured Topics

ATTRA’s Soil Resources

Healthy soil and hands, USDA Flickr

Soil Testing to Understand Soil Health

In this video, Lance Gunderson, President and co-owner of Regen…

Clover Living Mulch: How to Seed Your Clover. Part 1

Welcome to the Clover Living Mulch System (CLMS)! In this series,…

Adopting Water-Smart Practices in the Rio Grande Valley

By Katelyn Amador, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley The…
Very dense and compacted soil clod breaking off in horizontal plates underneath a 3-inch sod laye

Diagnosing Soil Compaction on Grazing Lands

By Justin Morris In an earlier blog, we discussed the causes…
Very dense and compacted soil clod breaking off in horizontal plates underneath a 3-inch sod laye

The Causes of Soil Compaction on Grazing Lands

By Justin Morris In an earlier blog, we discussed what compaction…

Episode 330. Meet NCAT: Carbon Farm Planner Allison Cooley-Agee of Montana

In this episode of Voices from the Field, we meet one of NCAT’s…
Strawberry plant with roots below soil surface

Exploring Soil Organic Matter

By Nina Prater, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Most…

NCAT Soil for Water Mississippi: Learning Together 

By Luz Ballesteros Gonzalez and Felicia Bell, NCAT Agriculture…
Healthy soil in hands

How Does Soil Compaction Impact Grazing Lands?

By Justin Morris Has your pasture been plagued by poor plant…
The Five College Farms greenhouse soil.

Episode 326: Exploring Soil Organic Matter with Dr. Johannes Lehmann

We have only recently begun to understand the true nature of…

Montana Partnership Reduces Food Waste and Supports Sustainable Gardening and Food Production Through Biochar

By Emilie Ritter If you live in Missoula, Montana, you’ve…
Healthy soil and hands, USDA Flickr

Episode 323. Potassium from Past to Present

In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture…
dung beetles making dung ball

Small is Beautiful: The Wonderful World of Invertebrates

By Nina Prater, NCAT Agriculture Specialist When I teach about…

Episode 321. Meet NCAT: Tyler Jenkins on Carbon Farm Planning

In this episode of Voices from the Field, we get to know one…

Sustainability Project Transforms Cafeteria Waste into Usable Compost

By Emilie Ritter, NCAT Director of Communications and Development Remember…
Trollworks biochar equipment

The ‘Black Gold’ that Can Save Soils, Fight Forest Fires, and Power the Planet

By Emilie Ritter, NCAT Director of Communications and Development If…