Celebrate Healthy Soils Week
December 6 – December 10, 2021


Follow us on social media: #HealthySoilsWeek2021 #HSW2021

Join the California Department of Food and Agriculture and our many partners in highlighting soil health! Click on the dates below to see the at-home activities and virtual events scheduled for each day. We will be updating and adding to the Healthy Soils Week calendar over the next few weeks, so bookmark this page and check back often.

USDA NRCS Logo
  • NRCS Rainfall Simulator Demonstration: Hosted by California NRCS. The Rainfall Simulator provides a demonstration of how practices such as no-till farming, cover crops, and prescribed grazing benefit soil health and improve the water cycle on cropland and rangeland. Presented by Dr. Kabir Zahangir, NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist. This demonstration includes discussion of topics such as soil structure, aggregate stability, and infiltration.
Sustainable Conservation Logo
Colusa County RCD Logo
  • Soil Health Connection – Topic of the Day: The Soil Health Connection is a collection of videos on soil health and related topics. Liz Harper from Colusa County RCD and Sarah Light, a UC Farm Advisor, have put together a series of interviews with individuals who are actively involved in improving soil in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. A new video will be featured each day of healthy soils week.
USDA NRCS Logo
California Rangeland Trust logo
  • The Carbon Cowboys of Yolo Land and Cattle Company: Come along as the California Rangeland Trust and Raley's take you on a virtual tour of Yolo Land and Cattle Company. On this tour you will learn about the different innovative techniques that the owners of the ranch, Scott and Karen Stone, are using to rehabilitate their ranch after 93% of their ranch burned in the 2018 County Fire.
Sustainable Conservation Logo
  • Feeding the Future – Solutions in our Soil: Join Sustainable Conservation and three soil health experts, including Dr. Timothy Bowles, Assistant Professor at U.C. Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Sara Tiffany, Director of Ecological Farming at the Community Alliance with Family Farms, and Rose Marie Burroughs, co-owner of Burroughs Family of Farms, as we chat about how to build healthy soil and what it does for our food, water, and our environment.
Colusa County RCD Logo
  • Soil Health Connection – Topic of the Day: The Soil Health Connection is a collection of videos on soil health and related topics. Liz Harper from Colusa County RCD and Sarah Light, a UC Farm Advisor, have put together a series of interviews with individuals who are actively involved in improving soil in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. A new video will be featured each day of healthy soils week.
Community Alliance wiht Family Farmers Logo
  • 2021 CA Small Farm Conference - On-Farm Compost Video: This video explores on-farm composting, including a brief overview of California’s new best management practices mandate for on-farm composting as well as the food safety and organic requirements. Hear from two different farmers, including a on-site video of the Frog Hollow Farm composting operation. This video debuted at the 2021 California Small Farm Conference, a production of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF). Learn more at www.caff.org.
USDA NRCS Logo
  • A Walk Through the Soil Tunnel: Hosted by California NRCS. The Soil Tunnel is an educational tool designed to teach and promote the importance of soils and soil health. It illustrates through the use of images, the important functions of the soil. Through this interactive soil exhibit, audience of all ages can view the world below the ground by walking through the Tunnel. Presented by Luis Alvarez, California NRCS Soil Scientist. This video takes the audience on a walk through the soil tunnel to “unlock the secrets in the soil”.
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  • Jackson Family Wine Master Class – Smart Water Management Practices: Together, we’ll learn from atmospheric specialists, habitat scientists, and industry leaders. This session will focus on innovations in water management to dramatically conserve water, the importance of waterway preservation and restoration, and how we can restore our natural aquifers through groundwater recharge and other natural means.
California Department of Water Resrouces Logo
Colusa County RCD Logo
  • Soil Health Connection – Topic of the Day: The Soil Health Connection is a collection of videos on soil health and related topics. Liz Harper from Colusa County RCD and Sarah Light, a UC Farm Advisor, have put together a series of interviews with individuals who are actively involved in improving soil in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. A new video will be featured each day of healthy soils week.
Carbon Cycle Institute Logo
  • Soil, Water, and Carbon: A discussion with Dr. Lorrie Flint (U.S. Geological Survey) and the Carbon Cycle Institute’s Lynette Niebrugge and Dr. Jeff Creque about the connections between soil, water, and carbon. Dr. Flint discusses the benefits of increasing soil organic carbon on hydrology for increasing resilience to climate change. Dr. Flint was a lead author on a report for California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment entitled “Increasing Soil Organic Carbon to Mitigate Greenhouse Gases and Increase Climate Resiliency for California.”
Community Alliance wiht Family Farmers Logo
California Compost Logo
  • In-Field Workshop in Salinas – Steinbeck Center: Farmers and farm advisors are invited to this in-field workshop series regarding compost use in agriculture. Topics include compost impacts on soil and water properties, compost regulations and incentives, ag order 4.0, and much more. Register at the link above!
USDA NRCS Logo
  • NRCS Cropland In-Field Soil Health Assessment Overview: Hosted by California NRCS. The Cropland In-Field Soil Health Assessment is designed to be used as a diagnostic tool to help conservation planners determine if soil health resource concerns exist. Presented by Peter Fahnestock, California NRCS Soil Scientist. This video takes the audience on a trip out to the field for a complete overview and demonstration of each of the eleven assessments found on the soil health worksheet.
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  • Soil Health Case Studies from American Farmland Trust: Learn about American Farmland Trust's Soil Health Bottom Line program, which documents the economic and environmental benefits of California farmers adopting soil health practices, like cover crops, nutrient management, mulching, and compost application. See how AFT is scaling up these practices further, and how you can find additional resources. The Soil Health Bottom Line program is funded by the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Services, Wells Fargo Foundation, Almond Board of California, and National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA via the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
California Department of Water Resrouces Logo
  • Composting for At-Home Gardeners: Here’s a tip for gardeners! By using compost and organic matter, you can reduce plant water needs by as much as 30 percent. Learn more about what compost can do for urban and home soils with the Save Our Water campaign.
Colusa County RCD Logo
  • Soil Health Connection – Topic of the Day: The Soil Health Connection is a collection of videos on soil health and related topics. Liz Harper from Colusa County RCD and Sarah Light, a UC Farm Advisor, have put together a series of interviews with individuals who are actively involved in improving soil in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. A new video will be featured each day of healthy soils week.
East Merced Resource logo
  • CDFA State Water Efficiency & Enhancement Program Informational Workshop: The State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program (SWEEP) provides financial assistance in the form of grants to implement irrigation systems that reduce greenhouse gases and save water on California agricultural operations. Eligible system components include (among others) soil moisture monitoring, drip systems, switching to low pressure irrigation systems, pump retrofits, variable frequency drives and installation of renewable energy to reduce on-farm water use and energy. Maximum award $200,000.
Community Alliance wiht Family Farmers Logo
  • 2021 CA Small Farm Conference - Integrating Sheep into Orchards Systems Video: Modern agriculture in the U.S. has normalized the separation of animal agriculture from growing crops, but many producers have found there’s much to be gained from integrating livestock back into cropping systems. Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA has successfully integrated sheep into their organic walnut orchards for several years and has learned many lessons along the way. In this video, join farmer Sean McNamara as he walks us through Sierra Orchards’ integrated sheep in walnuts system. This video debuted at the 2021 California Small Farm Conference, a production of Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF).
California Compost Logo
  • In-Field Workshop in Salinas – Steinbeck Center: Farmers and farm advisors are invited to this in-field workshop series regarding compost use in agriculture. Topics include compost impacts on soil and water properties, compost regulations and incentives, ag order 4.0, and much more. Register at the link above!
Wine Institute Logo
  • Jackson Family Wine Master Class – Regenerative Agriculture: Jackson Family Wines has always been rooted in the land. Our goal is to make the best wines possible from our estate vineyard properties to truly express the terroir of each unique site. And that starts with a focus on enhancing soil health, which we believe is best done through regenerative farming practices. Watch the replay of the third session of the Jackson Family Wines #RootedForGood Virtual Masterclass Series: Regenerative Farming
USDA NRCS Logo
  • Learn How to Find NRCS Soils Information: Hosted by California NRCS. Web Soil Survey (WSS) provides soil data and information produced by the National Cooperative Soil Survey. It is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and provides access to the largest natural resource information system in the world. NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation’s counties. Moderated and presented by Sheryl Feit, California NRCS State Inventory Coordinator and Tony Rolfes, California State Soil Scientist. This is a presentation on WSS and other Soil Web Tools for gathering soils information and maps.
California Rangeland Trust logo
  • Soil Ribboning with Mikie McDonnell: California Rangeland Trust Stewardship Specialist, Mikie McDonnell leads us in a soil ribboning activity. This kid-friendly activity will teach participants more about what makes up the soil around them. Grab a cup of soil and get ready to get your hands dirty!
California Department of Water Resrouces Logo
  • Agricultural Land Stewardship Framework: As #HealthySoilsWeek2021 comes to a close, we want to share one more tip! Agricultural land stewardship promotes healthy soil functions, such water holding capacity, which helps prevent erosion & runoff while boosting long-term crop yields.
Colusa County RCD Logo
  • Soil Health Connection – Topic of the Day: The Soil Health Connection is a collection of videos on soil health and related topics. Liz Harper from Colusa County RCD and Sarah Light, a UC Farm Advisor, have put together a series of interviews with individuals who are actively involved in improving soil in the Sacramento Valley and beyond. A new video will be featured each day of healthy soils week.
    Sarah Light, Soil Sampling Demo: https://youtu.be/vNZyPJqQqzg
Community Alliance wiht Family Farmers Logo
  • N-rich reference zones for in-season N fertilizer management. The N-rich reference zone is a relatively small area within a field where extra N fertilizer is added at the beginning of the season. This extra fertilizer ensures that the reference zone is not N limited between planting and the time when an in-season fertilizer decision is made. When a grower is determining whether and how much N fertilizer to add in-season, plant measurements from both the reference zone and the broader field are compared and combined with soil nitrate measurements to understand whether the broader field is sufficient in available N. Read more.
Community Alliance wiht Family Farmers Logo
  • Cover Cropping, Sanitation, & Mating Disruption in Walnuts: Community Alliance with Family Farms (CAFF) recently held a field day on the Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems (BIOS) project. We discussed the role and effects of cover crops, the effectiveness of mating disruption, and the importance of winter sanitation. Learn more about it at the link above!
 

Why Healthy Soil?

Healthy soil is quite literally the foundation of sustainable food, water, air and biodiversity. Restoring and preserving healthy soil results in:

  • Improved plant health and yields
  • Increased water infiltration and retention
  • Sequestered carbon and reduced greenhouse gases (GHGs)
  • Reduced sediment erosion and dust
  • Improved water and air quality
  • Improved biological diversity and wildlife habitat

Partners

Health Soils Program

CDFA's Healthy Soils Program, launched in 2017, stems from the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments promoting the development of healthy soils on California's farmlands and ranchlands.


Fertilizer Research and Education Program Logo

CDFA's Fertilizer Research and Education Program (FREP) funds and facilitates research to advance the environmentally safe and agronomically sound use and handling of fertilizing materials.


USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Logo

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has provided leadership in a partnership effort to help America's private landowners and managers conserve their soil, water, air, plants, and other natural resources since 1935. For more information about NRCS in California, please visit www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.


Learn About Ag.org Logo

The California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating youth throughout California about the importance of agriculture in their daily lives.


CalRecycle Logo

CalRecycle's mission is to protect the environment and preserve natural resources by promoting and supporting the highest levels of waste reduction, recycling, and reuse.


California Department of Water Resources Logo

The Department of Water Resources manages California's water resources, systems, and infrastructure, including the State Water Project (SWP), in a responsible, sustainable way.

Infographic

infographic: The COMPOST-CARBON-CLIMATE Connection
The COMPOST-CARBON-CLIMATE Connection

Enlarge or print this infographic explaining the connection between compost, carbon and the climate.