The Importance of Soil Conservation
The Human Advantage
Humanity has a huge advantage over all life on earth—the ability to grow food. Every other lifeform spends most of their day hunting for and gathering nourishment. Today, billions of us are sustained by what farmers grow. When it comes to survival, growing food is clearly an asset. However, this upper hand is fragile.
Nutrient-Rich Soil vs. Infertile Dirt
Just like the air we breathe or the water we drink, soil needs to be protected. The dirt on a baseball field and the soil in your garden may look similar—but they're worlds apart. Soil is complicated. It comes in many forms, from many places with a variety of names. Infertile dirt is everywhere and easy to find while the lively, nutrient-rich soil that grows our food is rare and precious.
“A nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt
When soil is protected, it helps plants create more nutrients our bodies need, like protein.
The billions of microbes living in healthy soil produce amino acids, which plants convert to protein. If neglected, these precious microbes are lost from the soil.
Healthy, vibrant soil can help keep the environment cleaner and healthier.
Nutrient-rich soil has a strong, stable structure. When mismanaged, soil loses the structure causing dust clouds to form, increasing erosion and air pollution.
When properly managed, soil protects plants from harm.
Bacteria, fungi and other microbes living in healthy soil form a natural defense from pests and disease. Infertile, mismanaged soil has fewer microbes, putting plants at risk.
Soil Unlocks Human Potential
Since the dawn of agriculture, food has become more accessible to more people. In large part, this is due to soil. Fertile soil leads to better harvests which helps meet our most basic needs. Those living in countries with healthy soil are then free to think, invent, create and imagine new possibilities. When humans are properly nourished, they do amazing things.
The more active and vibrant the soil, the more alive and nutritious the food. We must invest in soil conservation not just for farmers and people, but for all life on earth. Less than 3% of all land on earth has fertile, nutrient-rich soil. We seek to share, collaborate and innovate new ways of protecting and restoring this natural resource.
The Soil Health Partnership
Monsanto joined The National Corn Growers Association, The Walton Family Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and others to learn, test and improve soil on farms across the United States—all with the goal of improving soil conservation, growing more food and protecting the environment.
This practice leaves the soil undisturbed. No-till farming allows residues on the surface of the ground to naturally decompose and build more topsoil to minimize erosion reduce tractor emissions and help manage weeds.
We encourage farmers to grow plants like radishes and clover between seasons of growing corn, soy or cotton. Cover crops help prevent erosion and put nutrients back into the soil, keeping it healthy, more sustainable and contributes to better harvests.
We help farmers manage nitrogen, fertilizers and water more efficiently to reduce waste.
Farmers can use mobile software applications to monitor their fields and maximize their harvests. This knowledge allows farmers to make more sustainable choices for their businesses and the environment.