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Best of NAMA 2023

Source: USDA news release

FEATURE: Healthy Soil vs. Drought

INTRO:California has been historically dry, but healthy soil practices are helping some farmers weather the drought. The U-S-D-A's Bob Ellison has more. (1:22)

NARRATOR: California's drought is making times tough for farmers there. But U-S-D-A's Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with farmers to keep what little moisture there is in the soil.

Carlos Suarez, USDA NRCS, Davis, California: And with those principles of building more infiltration in the soil, that's going to help us prevent that water, that little water that we have from evaporating.

NARRATOR: Healthy soil holds water. Two ways to make sure soil stays healthy is by reducing tillage and keeping plant residue on top of the field. This keeps in nutrients and shields soil from the elements.

Fritz Durst, Farmer, Esparto, California: By leaving residue on top of the soil surface, I protect my soil. I protect it from winds and sun that could rob the moisture from the soil. If I give to my soil, my soil will give back to me.

NARRATOR: Farmer Scott Park has also built top notch soil health with superb moisture retention. His tomato transplants reaped the benefits this spring.

Scott Park, Farmer, Meridian, California: I have gone thirty two days without having to turn the water on so that is just a great example of building up the soil and having the soil save you headaches, water use and more expenses and it's a healthier plant as it's developing a good root system on its own.

NARRATOR: Farmers can learn more about soil health by contacting their local N-R-C-S office or going to U-S-D-A dot gov. For the U-S Department of Agriculture, I'm Bob Ellison.

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