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Farmers Managing Weather-Related Risks Through Greater Soil Stewardship

Spring planting season in the Corn Belt reminds those of us living in the region that soil erosion is still a serious concern as we gear up for another year of intensive corn and soybean cultivation.

For example, the Environmental Working Group, with the Iowa Daily Erosion Project, estimate that millions of acres of Iowa farmland are losing dangerous amounts of soil through wind and water erosion at levels far exceeding the so-called tolerable rate of soil loss (5 tons per acre).

This has serious impacts on water quality via sedimentation and carries an economic cost to farmers and to society. Soil resources are a critical part of productive and healthy agroecosystems, yet we are only beginning to truly appreciate their global importance for reducing climate related risks.

Globally there is increasing recognition that we must do a better job with our soil resources by not only preventing erosion but also building soil health over the long-term.

Marco Bartolini

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