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Soil building and other information just up by USDA  RSS feed

 
Bryant RedHawk
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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The following link is to the USDA page by the NRCS about soil health, it includes the new map of soil health for the US.

NRCS soil health page

The USDA has finally adopted a true soil health strategy for the US.
Previously they were more about helping "Big Ag" sell their poisons and fertilizers.
Some one there must have finally gotten the AH HA moment.

Redhawk
 
James Freyr
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Location: Middle Tennessee
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I'm unfamiliar with government agencies having sense.
 
Bryant RedHawk
gardener
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
191
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It's a new concept for sure, was not like that when I was part of the USDA.
 
Travis Johnson
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They have been on the Soil Health bandwagon for a about a year now, and that is a very good thing. I work with them a lot, and while it is true I have battled them in court (and won), for the most part they want to do what is right. Their biggest issue is that they get Nation Wide mandates, and thus cannot change them when we all know there are microclimates. This even works in Permiculture; what Gabe Brown does could never work in Maine, but aspects of it can be taken and applied, and that is where a national wide application just falls apart. It is all or nothing.

That is the part that is changing, and while it is regional and not micro-climate like the 1936 Soil Conservation Domestic Allotment Act that formed the USDA-NRCS in the first place requires, it is much better than what we had. The problem with that is all that regional stuff ends up adding levels of complexity, and a litttle jealosy when say New England gets this, but New York and Pennsylvania do not. It is hardly a perfect system, but farming in Maine IS different than farming in New York.

Sadly I had to file a grievance against the State of Maine USDA-NRCS regarding this very issue because they determined on their own that a beginner farmer was someone that only engaged in a practice of Soil Health. While soil health is a lofty goal and very important to all aspects of farming, denying funding to a farmer who just started farming who wanted to irrigate their nursery, or fence in their livestock, or put in a manure pit is just plain wrong. A Beginner Farmer is a beginner farmer as defined by being in farming for less than 10 years time. PERIOD. Failing to address them as such is simple discrimination. The state of Maine USDA-NRCS had no authority to do make that change in determination, nor did they have local say as required by the 1936 Soil Conservation Domestic Allotment Act. I just wonder how many beginner farmers were denied in Maine for stuff they truly should have been funded for.

 
John Weiland
Posts: 844
Location: RRV of da Nort
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Previously they were more about helping "Big Ag" sell their poisons and fertilizers.
Some one there must have finally gotten the AH HA moment.

Redhawk


I'd like to think there was a wake-up call, but I'm skeptical and will just applaud the attempt for the time being.  On some level, the (US) Fed has to provide at least some lip service for serving their populace and I do think this will vary depending on the 'flavor' of different administrations and the make-up of Congress.  On the less cynical and more positive side, between Permies and other more 'off radar' movements, there has never been a better time for the Fed to learn (shouldn't they be a 'leader'?) and incorporate some of the more sustainable practices into their recommendations and be an independent, validated clearinghouse for information and assistance for rural/urban dwellers and producers of all stripes.  Let's hope this movement within their ranks of promoting greater ecosystem sustainability turns out to be more......sustainable.
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