Soil for Water Tag

The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has launched its Regenerator’s Atlas of America, an interactive storytelling map connecting farmers, ranchers, and land managers who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil. The Regenerator’s Atlas of America is part of NCAT’s Soil for Water project. “From Maine to Minnesota, Texas to Idaho, the Regenerator’s Atlas of America is sharing the stories of farmers and ranchers who are finding ways to catch and hold more water in the soils, making their businesses more resilient to drought, erosion, and extreme weather,” NCAT Executive Director Steve Thompson said. “The...

Related ATTRA podcast: Using Cover Crops in an Organic Walnut Orchard University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources published a feature on California almond farmer Rob Schuh, who with his son-in-law Andrew Carroll is practicing regenerative farming on 210 acres of almond orchards in Chowchilla, California. Schuh began incorporating compost in 2015 and cover cropping in 2016, while also reducing inputs of synthetic fertilizer and chemical pesticides. These practices were part of an ecosystem approach that produced significant economic benefits and also helped Schuh rekindle his interest in farming. A 16-species cover-crop mix helps the soil hold water and reduces irrigation...

An international study published in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth's Future predicts that agricultural water scarcity is expected to increase in more than 80% of the world's croplands by 2050. Researchers developed a new index to measure and predict water scarcity in agriculture's two major sources: soil water that comes from rain, called green water, and irrigation from rivers, lakes and groundwater, called blue water. The researchers found that under climate change, global agricultural water scarcity will worsen in up to 84% of croplands, with a loss of water supplies driving scarcity in about 60% of those croplands. Researchers...

A new peer-reviewed research report published by the Soil Health Institute offers insight into the vital role that soil organic carbon levels can play in preventing drought, reducing flooding, and improving the health and water retention of the soils used to grow crops. The publication includes the development of new pedotransfer function equations, available for use by other researchers, that enable more precise measurement of the correlation between carbon levels, water retention and various soil types. These new equations will allow scientists to better predict how much water farmers can provide to their crops through improved soil health—specifically, by raising...

A team of researchers from six universities, led by UC Santa Barbara's Samantha Stevenson, found that many regions of the world will enter permanent dry or wet conditions in the coming decades, under modern definitions of drought. "Essentially, we need to stop thinking about returning to normal as a thing that is possible," said Stevenson. This study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests instead measuring drought against a changing background state. "When we talk about being in a drought, the presumption is that eventually the drought will end, and conditions will return to normal," Stevenson said....

In a new video series: Soil Health 101: Principles for Livestock Production, NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Nina Prater makes the case for modeling soil health strategies after nature’s blueprint that produced that situation in the first place. We all know the basic story. Plants photosynthesize sunlight and make sugars. They use the sugars to build leaves and stems and roots and seeds – pretty much everything that makes a plant a plant. But at the same time, they share the wealth by exuding sugars from the roots to feed a “community” of soil microbes and fungi that in turn help keep the...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has officially re-launched its Soil for Water project, opening access to the free, voluntary network to all commercial farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States. Soil for Water aims to connect farmers, ranchers, and land managers who are interested in land management practices that improve soil health, catch more water in soil, reduce erosion, sustain diverse plant and animal life, and filter out pollutants all while sustaining a profitable business.
NCAT Communications Director Emilie Ritter Saunders and NCAT Regenerative Grazing Specialist Linda Poole ...

As a camera soars over an impressive piece of Rocky Mountain ranch land, the narrator says, “The soil that covers U.S. farm and ranch land holds a remarkable story. It’s a tale of success and setbacks. At its best, the soil beneath our feet is the source of life, food, and economic security.” The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has released its short film, Soil for Water, to highlight a growing network of farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil. “Your soil health is going to...

The National Center for Appropriate Technology has opened registration for its Soil Health Innovations Conference: Soil for Water, March 15 and 16. The two-day conference will convene online, and the highly interactive format will connect agricultural producers and educators in a critical conversation about soil health. As was the first conference, it will be an in-depth exploration of agriculture’s sustainable future: on-farm practices, soil biology, carbon markets, and public policy. This year’s conference will focus on farm and ranch strategies to catch and hold more water in the soil. “The inaugural Soil Health Innovations Conference last spring really exceeded our expectations,” said...

Soil for Water’s Regenerator’s Atlas of America is now live! With producers and consumers in mind, we have developed a platform where regenerative farmers and ranchers across the country can create a profile for their operation to be placed on the Atlas. By planting a flag on the map, producers can let people know who they are and where they’re located, and how they are regenerating their soils to hold more water. Users can explore these farm and ranch profiles by filtering for a variety of topics. For producers, it can increase your operation’s visibility, open new markets, and allow you to...

“Your soil health is going to keep you in business. If you take care of your soil, the land will give back to you.” Tina Weldon and her partner Orion are among a growing network of farmers, ranchers, and land managers are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil. Join the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) on Thursday, February 17 for the world premiere of its film Soil for Water, with a panel discussion to follow....

Farmers, ranchers, and land managers across the United States who are taking steps to catch and hold more water in the soil are invited to join the National Center for Appropriate Technology’s Soil for Water project. Building on an expanding peer-to-peer network of ranchers in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Montana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia, NCAT has opened the program to crop farmers, ranchers, and land managers in all 50 states who are learning together how to catch and hold more water in the soil....

Damian Valdez and Jamie Williamson run Lighthouse Herb’n Farm, an organic herb, tea, medicinal plant, and dye-plant operation in eastern San Diego. The farm is located on what is considered Luiseño Payómkawichum native land. In this episode of Voices from the Field, Jamie and Damian talk with NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor about their ethic of “leave no trace” — how they farm organically in San Diego’s harsh desert climate in a way that honors this sacred native land, and ensures that it is kept intact for generations to come.
NCAT Sustainable Agriculture Specialist Katherine Favor and Damian Valdez and Jamie...

Soil health has emerged as a central theme in conversations about the future of American agriculture. Soils have become a focal topic due to new scientific understanding, the application of emerging technologies, and a growing interest among producers and policymakers in improving climate resilience and mitigating emissions. NCAT's Soil Health Innovations Conference was held online with live-streamed speakers and panels, as well as virtual halls for exhibitors and student posters. The event allowed participants to network with exhibitors and sponsors and the producers, industry professionals, educators, and students who are at the cutting edge of soil health across the country. This video...

In this episode of Voices from the Field, NCAT Agricultural and Natural Resource Economist Jeff Schahczenski talks with Aria McLauchlan and Harley Cross about how to measure the impact that soil health practices can have in mitigating the impacts of weather and climate disruption. Aria and Harley are co-founders of Land Core, a nonprofit organization advancing soil health policies and programs that create value for farmers, businesses, and communities. Land Core guided the successful passage of language supporting soil health at the USDA in both the House and Senate in 2019 and built a broad coalition that helped secure more than...

In my work on NCAT’s Soil for Water Project, I’ve tried a lot of different ways of monitoring land and soil health. For years, I’ve been hearing about LandPKS (Land Potential Knowledge System), a mobile app that has been under development by the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) since 2013. I was excited to hear that a full version was released earlier this year, and a couple weeks ago I finally got around to installing the app on my phone and running it through some tests.
By Mike Morris, Director of NCAT’s Southwest Regional Office ...