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Another Year of Soil Health

5 years ago | Jan 06, 2015
By: Caleb Hall
As one year ends, and another begins, it is commonplace to reflect on past accomplishments to assess future work.  As it turns out, the Climate + Energy Project appropriately ended its year with a Water + Energy Progress Bus Tour just at the cusp of the United Nation’s International Year of Soil. On the Bus Tour, Kansas farmers and governmental officials demonstrated how commonsense environmental stewardship retains precious water reserves, and replenishes soil nutrient stock. Going forward into next year, the United Nations plans to host numerous related events, spreading the message of how crucial soil integrity is for a sustainable future.
Now I am no soil expert, but I have had more than a fair earful on the matter from my scientist fiancé. Therefore, I can still find myself amazed by nutrient fluxes and appreciate how soil health is related to the Project’s work. As Water + Progress works with farmers to use cover crops and no till practices for the sake of economic and water efficiency, more carbon is incidentally sequestered in the soil. Such actions help mitigate climate change and provide more building blocks for soil bacteria. The bacteria, drawn to chemical environments provided by rootstocks, then use the carbon to grow. At the same time though, bacteria provide more nutrients for crops, which stabilize the soil as they grow, and the cycle continues.
It is through maintenance of this self-reinforcing ecological loop that sustainable agriculture can be promoted, keeping more Kansas farmers on their land and continuing the Project’s work. How fitting that the Project enters another year of aiding soil health just as the international community begins a newfound focus on the same related issues.  


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