World Soil Day – Celebrating our most vital resource and those who protect it

By Beth Mason

As we celebrate World Soil Day on December 5, it is only appropriate to also celebrate those who help maintain and improve soil health across our country’s landscape. NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network is a group of such individuals – landowners and operators who have made improving the soil in their operation and landscape a priority and share their knowledge and experiences with others.

In 2014, NACD received a Conservation Innovation Grant which helped fund outreach to conservation districts and landowners in establishing this progressive group of people. The overarching goal of this Network is to increase the number of acres managed for soil health nationwide, and through the organizing and mobilization of this network, NACD is able to amplify their message to a broader audience.

In return for their dedication to promote soil health systems in their communities and across the nation, Network members receive benefits such as special access to new technologies, services, and information on soil health; access to a group of their peers where they can share their experiences and learn from each other; and national recognition through presentations, articles, and highlights on NACD’s website and in NACD publications.

Growing to nearly 200 members in 2017, the NACD Soil Health Champions Network is covering a vast amount of the U.S. (as you’ll see pictured above), but there are still areas that need Champions to step forward. As we all know, soil health is not a one-size-fits-all situation. There’s not one plan to improve soil health that works for everyone. To improve soil health nationwide, we need members from all climates and growing seasons, from all land uses (including forestry, organic farms, grazing lands, urban gardens, etc.), and from all states and territories. By continuing to broaden and diversify the Network membership, we can directly address the dismissive sentiment, “Well, that may work well in your area, but not in mine!”

For a complete listing of where our network members are located and to read their inspiring profiles, be sure to visit the Soil Health Champions Network webpage. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of this growing, progressive network, please contact me, Beth Mason, NACD North Central Region Representative at beth-mason@nacdnet.org or 317-946-4463 for more information.

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