Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

State ag, WSU to conduct two year soil health survey in 2020, 2021


December 12, 2019

Scientists from the Washington State Department of Agriculture and Washington State University are collaborating to survey the soil health of seven specialty crops grown in our state. The project is funded through the WSDA Specialty Crop Block Grant program. Researchers will assess the baseline soil health and develop a state-specific soil health index.

They are seeking participation from farmers growing potatoes, onion, sweet corn, pulses, tree fruit, wine grapes and hops during the 2020 and 2021 growing seasons.

Eligible participants will identify and describe their “best” and “worst” sites, complete an online soil management survey and allow project staffers to collect soil samples.

The project will use in-field measurements and soil samples to analyze field and lab indicators of soil health. The management practices survey will provide background on practices that may affect soil health.

Participants will receive a health report of their “best” and “worst” sites, including comparisons to regional data and other soil indices.

Participants will be selected for the first year of the study in January. Sampling will begin in the spring. WSU staff will lead the field effort and will communicate directly with farmers to arrange convenient field access.

Contact Rachel Seman-Varner at 360-584-3414, Deirdre Griffin LaHue at 360-848-6127 or Leslie Michel at 509-731-9895 if you want to participate or have questions.


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