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USDA/NRCS opens soil health initiative in Mississippi

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has established a new statewide soil initiative in Mississippi that focuses on building soil health and productivity.

Mississippi cropland, forestlands and pasturelands are eligible for this initiative.

This initiative will assist to improve the visibility, accessibility and participation in NRCS soil health programs and technical services. These programs help to reduce the carbon footprint, increase water infiltration and improve wildlife habitat, all while helping farmers realize better crop yields.

“As the world population grows, so does the demand for food production,” said Kurt Readus, NRCS state conservationist in Mississippi.

“A growing number of farmers are using soil health management systems to improve the health and functions of their soil.”

More farmers are increasing their soil’s organic matter and improving microbial activity by practicing good soil health principles.

The top resource concerns in Mississippi are sediment, nutrients, soil quality, water quality, water supply, soil erosion and soil compaction.

Farmers are addressing these concerns by practicing diverse crop rotation, planting diverse species and reducing tillage.

“We recognize the growing interest in soil health management,” said Readus.

“For this new initiative, we hope to see more implementation of conservation practices that support soil health.”

Landowners interested in participating in the Soil Health Initiative may apply at their local USDA Service Center / NRCS office.

NRCS financial-assistance programs offer a continuous sign-up; however, applications received by June 17 will be considered for funding in the first ranking period.

To locate the nearest NRCS office: http://offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app.

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