Register now for the Soil Health webinar

Join CAST on June 6 from 12-1pm CST for the official webinar release of our latest publication, “Impacts of Soil Health Practices on Hydrologic Processes.” This comprehensive paper examines the important role that soil health practices play in regulating the earth’s hydrologic cycle.

The webinar will feature:

Despite years of research into soil health’s benefits for crop yields, carbon sequestration, and greenhouse gas emissions, the specific impacts on hydrology have received less attention. This paper highlights how improving soil health can positively influence water infiltration, groundwater recharge, runoff and erosion, flooding dynamics, and water quality.

The interdisciplinary task force outlines strategies for soil testing, cover cropping, reduced tillage, and other practices to enhance soil health. It also examines policy considerations and regional challenges related to implementing soil health systems.

Don’t miss this chance to dive into the cutting-edge science around an increasingly crucial issue. Soil health will only grow more important as climate change strains global food and water resources.

Registration is free but required to receive webinar access info. Sign up today!

Briana M. Wyatt (Task Force Chair) – Texas A&M University

Todd Peterson (Moderator) – Ag Technology Specialist and Soil Health Champion (Retired)

Jerry Hatfield – National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (Retired)

Mitchell Hora – Continuum Ag

Sean McMahon –  Insight Ag Consulting

About the paper
The paper focuses on the growing importance of soil health in agricultural science, recognizing its critical role in sustaining ecosystems, enhancing crop production, and supporting diverse biological functions. Soil health is defined by the USDA-NRCS as the ability of soil to function as a living ecosystem essential for plants, animals, and humans. This encompasses its capabilities to filter contaminants, cycle nutrients, offer physical support, and regulate water flow.

Key methods for assessing soil health involve measuring chemical, physical, and biological properties, with recent studies advocating for an integrated approach to better quantify and understand soil health dynamics. The paper underscores longstanding soil and water conservation practices like no-tillage and using cover crops to improve soil health, emphasizing their benefits, such as increased water storage, enhanced crop yields and resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Importantly, the paper aims to fill a crucial knowledge gap by focusing on the impacts of soil health practices on the hydrologic cycle. It seeks to provide a detailed analysis of how these practices affect water movement within ecosystems and offer evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and decision-makers on incorporating soil health improvements into agricultural and environmental strategies.

Task Force Chair

Briana M. Wyatt, Texas A&M University

Task Force Authors

Jerry Hatfield, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (retired)

Ken Wacha, USDA

Rattan Lal, Ohio State University

Antonio Arenas, Iowa State University

Hannah Birge, The Nature Conservatory

Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois

CAST Liaison

Todd Peterson, Ag Technology Specialist and Soil Health Champion (retired)

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