Soil Health Management Planning
Oahu RC&D is piloting soil health management planning, to address the growing interest among Hawaii producers to build soil health.
For the producer:
A soil in good health can improve irrigation efficiency, reduce fertilization needs, reduce pest pressure, reduce erosion, and improve overall plant productivity and health. Having a written guide and maps provided by the soil health plan can help to visualize the potential opportunities for soil health improvement and understand where priorities for improvement may be.
For the environment:
Healthy soils, rich in carbon, are a natural resource in need of immediate action to protect and restore. Building soil health has become an increasingly important task as we face global climate challenges such as drought, intense storms, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and limited resources such as water and nutrients.
Healthy soils are a “win, win, win” as they improve the landscape’s ability to capture and filter water for drinking, improve the ability of the land to grow food with less reliance on fertilizer inputs, and also reduce the amount of polluted runoff that reaches the ocean.
Cover crops, organic soil amendments, prescribed grazing, conservation tillage and no-till practices are just a few examples of the practices farmers can use to build more resilient soils that are capable of improving their operations and addressing environmental issues.
Soil health plans puts these concepts into action by:
- Working with the local community to learn more about how to best serve the farming community’s interest in soil health and identify practical strategies.
- Creating a comprehensive overview tool for the farmer to see where there may be missed opportunities to build soil health and what management goals to prioritize next.
- Demonstrate and quantify the interest among farmers to invest in their soil, and encourage funding support to farms who may otherwise be unable to afford the installation of soil health practices.
- Educating the farming community on the benefits of soil health practices that support long term regenerative agricultural goals.