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MDARD celebrates World Soil Day

LANSING December 5 is World Soil Day; a day to recognize soil as a foundational piece of our ecosystems and a vital contributor to human health through food and fuel production and water quality protection. Today, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) is encouraging the public to learn more about the importance of soil health and what steps can be taken to improve and sustain soil quality in Michigan.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 95 percent of the food the world consumes is grown directly in the soil. However, soil health is under pressure from many threats, including erosion, loss of soil organic carbon and biodiversity, and pollution. Proper soil management is needed to continue to produce enough food to feed a growing global population.

Thanks to Governor Whitmer s bipartisan budget investments, MDARD is realigning, expanding and revitalizing our environmental programs and developing new initiatives to invest in regenerative agriculture, said Tim Boring, MDARD. Through existing programs such as the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and the Michigan Agricultural Environmental Assurance Program, we work directly with farmers make long-term, tangible improvements to Michigan's soil health.

Sustainable agricultural practices, such as conservation tillage, diverse crop rotations, and cover cropping play a huge role in improving soil health, reducing erosion and pollution, and enhancing water infiltration and storage.

Protecting soil health is not just the responsibility of our agricultural industry, added Boring. Everyone can and must do their part.

How to improve soil quality in your community and backyard:

  • Plant trees - Trees can help prevent soil erosion, increase aeriation, and water infiltration, and add nutrients into the ground.
  • Reduce plastic pollution - Microplastics can enter the soil, impact agricultural yields, and can harm the organisms that make their home in the soil.
  • Cultivate biodiversity - Growing native plants can restore local ecosystems and help our pollinators thrive.
  • Be informed - Learn more about what you can do to protect and promote soil health and share your knowledge with friends and family.

To learn more about MDARD's agricultural and environmental programs, visit