Improving soil health is one of the best ways to increase crop productivity and profitability and help improve the environment on both agricultural and urban landscapes. A good measurement of soil health is the level of organic matter in your soils. The 1% challenge was developed in 2017 by Brad Harrison with the Dallas County NRCS. Producers participating in the 1% challenge pledge to increase their organic matter by 1% over 10 years. Using as many of the 5 key soil health principles below is a good start!

  • Keep the soil covered as much as possible
  • Disturb the soil as little as possible
  • Keep plants growing throughout the year to feed the soil
  • Incorporate grazing when possible
  • Diversify using crop rotations and cover crops
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If you are interested in learning more about soil health or participating in the challenge contact your local NRCS office or visit the website below.


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Urban residents can also play a role in improving soil health on their properties. Soil quality restoration involves spreading compost over a new or existing area in order to increase organic matter and improve overall lawn heath. Some of the benefits of a soil quality restoration include greener grass and more water holding capacity, lessening the need to water during the summer months.


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To learn more about soil quality restorations, head over to the urban page!

Many streams at 4-10 times wider than they were prior to pioneer settlement