Why Not Recognize World Soil Day Every Day?
World Soil Day was recognized December 5, 2015, to bring attention to one of the earth’s most valuable resources. Because soil is the beginning of the vital food cycle, I believe Soil Day should be recognized every day.
If you’ve read some of my past blogs, you know how much I love the natural resources of water and soil. My passion started while I was growing up on the 4 C-Sons Farm because my parents were always good stewards of the land. A plaque, which recognized my parents for good soil preservation practices, hung on the kitchen wall of our farm house.
When my parents purchased a farm on with rolling hills in 1969, one of the first things they did was contour the land. Contouring created more, smaller fields that ended up taking more time to farm, but my parents believe it was important to do the best they could with this land. I am so proud of them for realizing the importance of taking care of the soil for future generations. Even after their retirement from dairy farming, my parents continued to crop farm. They continue to invest in the land by adding lime, implementing good fertility practices, using minimum tillage practices, and maintaining alfalfa strips to help hold the soil. I recall one spring, when we had winter kill on alfalfa, my dad was so concerned there might be erosion from spring rains. He eagerly awaited for the spring oats to sprout and hold the soil.
There are many benefits to cover crops including: holding the soil in place, preventing nutrient run-off, controlling weeds and breaking disease cycles. One strategy is to start with your worst field, allowing you to get a system in place without influencing your top-performing fields. Planning your strategy early will also help secure seed and other needed inputs. Protecting and nurturing our soils will help ensure it will be there for future generations.
Farmers have been working to improve the soils since drought hit this country in the 1930s. On April 27, 1935 – amidst the Dust Bowl – Congress created the beginning of the Soil Conservation Service. The SCS later became more encompassing with the name Natural Resource Conservation Service.
For most farms, soil management is ongoing. I’m proud of all farmers, who take good care of the land. You deserve praise for the legacy you’re preserving; current and future generations thank you for your vision and attentiveness to the soil and water. Keep up the great work of protecting, and building the most precious resources!