WASHINGTON SOIL HEALTH INITIATIVE
"Soil health describes how well a soil system supports plants, animals, and humans. The term health also recognizes the living nature of soils and the importance of soil microorganisms. Healthy soil provides wildlife habitat, supports biodiversity, reduces the effects of climate change, filters air and water, increases crop productivity and food security, and ensures thriving rural economies."
"The Washington Soil Health Initiative, referred to as WaSHI, is a partnership between the Washington State Department of Agriculture, Washington State University, and the State Conservation Commission. WaSHI establishes a coordinated approach to healthy soil in Washington. Partners provide science-based technical assistance and policy support for increasing soil health across Washington’s diverse regions and cropping systems. Through research, outreach and education, and funding opportunities, WaSHI offers a win-win-win opportunity for farmers, the environment, and the people of Washington."
STATE OF THE SOIL ASSESSMENT
"As part of the State of the Soils Assessment, WaSHI has collected hundreds of soil samples and management surveys from diverse regions and cropping systems across Washington. The goals of this project are to:
Assess baseline soil health in Washington
Understand how climate, crop type, and management impact soil health
Develop cost-effective ways for producers to assess their soil health
Develop crop-specific decision-support tools
This project is being led by WSDA and WSU, with support from staff, students, conservation districts, and agricultural professionals throughout Washington. Participating producers are each given an individualized soil health report, which compares their soils from those in similar crops, regions, and across the entire project."
WSDA is looking for diverse regions like Ferry County and crops such as asparagus, alfalfa seed, barley, berry, canola, carrot, cherry, corn (field), grape (juice), grass seed, hay, mint, pasture, pear, pea (green), stone fruit, and wheat. They are also looking at samples from paired fields where soil health practices have and have not been implemented, as well as samples from minimally disturbed lands such as those under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), native grass, historically undisturbed areas, and rangelands.
Visit their interactive soil sample map to find current information on which crops and counties are represented in the State of the Soils Assessment.
FCD has a key relationship in the State of the Soils Assessment. We must provide the soil samples within Ferry County. The samples taken in Ferry County this year gave the WSDA a broad overview and a better sense of soil types within our region. Next year, we hope to increase the number of properties sampled in the county and allow more landowners to assess the soil on their property. If you are a landowner and are interested in learning more about your soil, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about the opportunity to sample next year.
Ferry Conservation District's Part