Soil health can be seen as the continued capacity of the soil to function as a vital, living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. This definition from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) speaks to the importance of managing the soil so it can continue to sustain life for future generations.
According to the USDA-NRCS, there are a number of agronomic measures farmers can follow to bolster soil health. They include:
- Minimize soil disturbance
- Keep soil covered
- Maximize the duration of living roots
- Maximize diversity of crops
- Integrate livestock into the system
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