UDAF’s Utah Soil Health Program was created during the 2021 General Session (HB0296) to recognize soil health as essential to protecting the state’s soil and water resources, bolstering the state’s food supply, and sustaining the state’s agricultural industry.
The purpose of the program is to promote the adoption of soil health practices through increasing our understanding of soil health and its impacts on the productivity, economics, and environmental aspects of agriculture as well as how it benefits the general public of Utah.
The program uses a voluntary / incentive based approach through domestication, education, and research along with implementation projects to promote soil health benefits. Working with multiple partners, agencies, and stakeholders to combine efforts, and acquire funding and grants to implement projects under the umbrella of the Utah Soil Health Partnership (USHP).
Interested in learning more about soil health and how to implement it in your operation? Reach out to our program staff.
Soil Health Planner – Northern Utah
Soil Health Planner – Southern Utah
Soil Health Program Manager
Learn more about the Utah Soil Health Program here:
How Healthy Are Your Soils? Request a FREE Soil Health Assessment
What is an in-field soil health assessment?
An in-field soil health assessment uses a set of simple tests and observations to estimate the overall health of the soil in a field. These measurements and observations look at the following soil components.
- Soil Cover
- Residue Breakdown
- Surface Crust
- Ponding / Infiltration
- Penetration Resistance
- Water Stable Aggregates
- Soil Structure
- Soil Color
- Plant Roots
- Biological Diversity
Based on the results the overall health of the soil is estimated and used to identify if the soil has one of the following resource concerns.
- Soil Organism Habitat Loss
- Soil Organic Matter Depletion
- Aggregate Instability
Using this information we can develop a soil health plan for the field that will combine your goals, with identified resource concerns to recommend some soil health practices. Soil health practices include.
- No-till / Direct Seeding
- Cover Crops
- Soil Amendments / Composting
- Integrating Grazing
Request as Soil Health Assessment by clicking here.
Utah Soil Health Network On-Farm Soil Health Demonstration Project
The Utah Soil Health Partnership with funding from the USDA NRCS is developing the Utah Soil Health Network. This 5 year project is designed to increase our understanding of how best to implement soil health practices into Utah’s various farming systems. Data is being collected from each site to understand the impacts of soil health practices on the agronomic, economic, environmental and social aspects of each operation.
Program participants receive annual incentive payments for keeping records, maintaining test plots and implementing practices.
- 5 Year Project
- 17 demonstration sites will be selected from around the state
- Trials will be up to 50 acres in size (several soil health and conventional strips)
- Sites are being used to host farm field days
- USU and USHP are collecting soil, crop, and water samples from each site.
- Participants are being interviewed annually about the project and impacts it is having on their operation.
- Agronomic, economic, environmental and social impacts of implementing soil health practices such as cover crops, no-till, integrated grazing and others are the main focus of the project.
- Data collected will be compiled into reports and factsheets for the public
- Combinations of soil planners, USU extension agents, and crop advisors are working with each participant to develop an individual soil health plan for each site that will be followed for 5 years. Technical assistance will be provided to the participant throughout the project.
- Utah Soil Health Partnership
- USHP Youtube Channel
- Utah NRCS Soil Health
- USU Extension Crops
- SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education)