Soil degradation considered an emergency

By Connie Sieh Groop

Thrusting a shovel into farm ground can reveal a great deal about the health of the soil and the future of agriculture.

Degradation of soil worldwide has reached an emergency status as farmers strive to pull more and more from the soil, said Ray Archuleta. He’s a conservation agronomist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Greensboro, N.C., who recently spoke at the Soil Health Challenge in Aberdeen.

The lessons from the dust bowl days have been forgotten. The soil is naked, hungry, thirsty and running a fever, even in Hawaii, Archuleta said.

“I am a producer who learned ag under the wrong premise,” Archuleta said. “I was not taught to farm in nature’s image. As a result of that, I believe I am observing the distress of farmers dealing with stress brought on by economic and climate situations.”

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