- Education and Training: extension, networking, technical assistance, workshop
- Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: social networks
A plethora of research into soil health indicates that agricultural practices that improve soil
health can increase resilience to a variety of biotic and abiotic stressors, decrease reliance on
synthetic inputs, and improve long-term economic sustainability. Promising practices which have
long been studied include: keep it covered; do not disturb; increase diversity; add amendments,
cover cropping, and residues; and re-integrate crops and livestock. However, producer adoption
remains a challenge – not because they don’t want to improve soil health, but because of real
economic, logistical, and other barriers. Additionally, producers need to see examples from
others and better understand the economic implications of specific practices under their
conditions before they are willing to adopt them.
Funding for this project will bring agricultural professionals and key producers from
Washington, Oregon, and Idaho together, with an overarching goal to give those who are
providing information to farmers a tool box to support adoption of soil health practices.
Attendees at the summit will include researchers to provide the most recent soil health insights
and train professionals to use existing decision support tools. Producers will present at the
summit, to share important on-the-ground insights. Attendees will engage in demonstrations, and
dialog on the challenges, opportunities, and paths towards increased adoption of soil health
practices. Information gathered during facilitated discussions will be synthesized and given to
leadership to support and coordinate broader state-level efforts. Additionally, a toolbox will be
developed and made available to attendees which will provide links and instructions on focused
Our proposal builds on an existing collaborative regional process that indicated that moving
forward soil health issues is a priority. Prior to the summit, a survey will provide additional
insight on attitudes toward soil health research, services, and policies. This will inform facilitated
conversations for the summit.
Project objectives from proposal:
Our objectives are to:
• Improve awareness of existing, new, and evolving regional soil health practices and
projects to foster learning relating to innovative strategies that can be promoted and
utilized by agriculture professionals.
• Provide hands-on training on soil health practices, and familiarity with tools that can
be used to support producer decision making related to soil health.
• Improve understanding of the practical barriers to improving soil health and resources
and opportunities for moving past those barriers.
• Create a forum for state leaders to improve consensus about needs, priorities, and
funding opportunities for collaborative regional efforts for the next five years around