Read Time: 3 minutes

Importance of healthy soil in agriculture

It All Starts With Soil

The Human Advantage

Humanity has a huge advantage over all life on Earth—the ability to grow food. Every other lifeform spends most of their day hunting for and gathering nourishment. Today, billions of us are sustained by what farmers grow. When it comes to survival, growing food is clearly an asset. However, this upper hand is fragile.

Nutrient-Rich Soil vs. Infertile Dirt

Just like the air we breathe or the water we drink, soil needs to be protected. The dirt on a baseball field and the soil in your garden may look similar—but they're worlds apart. Soil is complicated. It comes in many forms, from many places, with a variety of names. Infertile dirt is easy to find while the lively, nutrient-rich soil that grows our food is rare and precious.

“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

[unex_ce_article_full_width_photo layer-name="Soil Unlocks Human Potential" text_overlay="

A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.

–Franklin D. Roosevelt

" img="536" image-filename="shutterstock_132425009.jpg" id="content_d5x1l8b8q" post_id="228"][/ce_article_full_width_photo]

Soil Feeds

When soil is protected, it helps plants create more nutrients our bodies need, like protein.


The billions of microbes living in healthy soil produce amino acids, which plants convert to protein. If neglected, these precious microbes are lost from the soil.


Soil Cleans

Healthy, vibrant soil can help keep the environment cleaner and healthier.


Nutrient-rich soil has a strong, stable structure. When mismanaged, soil loses the structure causing dust clouds to form, increasing erosion and air pollution.


Soil Protects

When properly managed, soil protects plants from harm.


Bacteria, fungi, and other microbes living in healthy soil form a natural defense from pests and disease. Infertile, mismanaged soil has fewer microbes, putting plants at risk.

How is Modern Agriculture Protecting Soil?

No-Till Farming

This practice leaves the soil undisturbed. No-till farming allows residues on the surface of the ground to naturally decompose and build more topsoil to minimize erosion, and help manage weeds.

[unex_ce_indent_outdent_images layer-name="No till!" headline_markup="" img="427" image-filename="DSC_9698.jpg" id="content_duzth4no1" post_id="228"]
No-Till Farming

This practice leaves the soil undisturbed. No-till farming allows residues on the surface of the ground to naturally decompose and build more topsoil to minimize erosion, and help manage weeds.

[/ce_indent_outdent_images]

Cover Crops

A recent and growing trend for modern agriculture and like-minded farmers is to grow plants like radishes and clover between seasons of corn, soy, or cotton. Cover crops help prevent erosion and add nutrients back into the soil keeping it healthy, reducing erosion, and may even require less watering in future seasons.

[unex_ce_indent_outdent_images layer-name="Cover Crops!" headline_markup="" img="539" image-filename="shutterstock_291953309.jpg" id="content_iu8zc0kce" post_id="228"]
Cover Crops

A recent and growing trend for modern agriculture and like-minded farmers is to grow plants like radishes and clover between seasons of corn, soy, or cotton. Cover crops help prevent erosion and add nutrients back into the soil keeping it healthy, reducing erosion, and may even require less watering in future seasons.

[/ce_indent_outdent_images]

Precision Agriculture

When farmers manage nitrogen, fertilizers and water more efficiently, they reduce waste. Using mobile software applications allows them to use the right amount, in the right place, at the right time. These insights allow farmers to make more measured choices for their business and the environment.

[unex_ce_indent_outdent_images layer-name="Precision Ag!" headline_markup="" img="429" image-filename="offset_comp_71421.jpg" id="content_n2vix3i9b" post_id="228"]
Precision Agriculture

When farmers manage nitrogen, fertilizers and water more efficiently, they reduce waste. Using mobile software applications allows them to use the right amount, in the right place, at the right time. These insights allow farmers to make more measured choices for their business and the environment.

[/ce_indent_outdent_images]

Giving Back to the Ground

We must invest in soil conservation not just for farmers and people, but for all life on Earth. Less than three percent of all land has fertile, nutrient-rich soil, so the margin for error is razor thin. That’s why the leaders of modern agriculture are finding ways to protect and restore this natural resource. Because in many ways, soil health serves as the foundation of our success and prosperity.

Related Articles

Read Time: 4 minutes

Healthy Soils for a Better Planet

Soil is one of our most precious resources. Farmers understand how important it is, and they’re using methods like reduced tillage and cover crops to build and maintain soil health on their farms.

Read Time: 5 minutes

The Science Inside A GMO

Over time, the agriculture industry has evolved to meet many challenges, like climate change. Genetically modified seed can help farmers become more efficient by empowering them to use less of our natural resources. Many people have questions about how genetic modification works and why farmers might choose to grow GM seeds.