About

Our understanding of the core management principles has deepened over time and we understand that regenerative agricultural systems strengthen the vitality and resilience of individual farms, our agricultural economy, and our environment. Working in concert with agricultural producers, this diverse team has begun making lasting changes on the landscape. The Virginia Soil Health Coalition envisions a thriving and diverse agricultural landscape that is profitable, sustainable and resilient now and for future generations.To realize this vision, the Coalition will foster greater engagement among diverse partners to increase adoption of core management principles and leverage resources to advance strategies/approaches that will increase productivity, profitability and sustainability.

USDA NRCS first established the Virginia Soil Health Coalition when the agency launched its soil health initiative in 2013. NRCS invited this loose affiliation of partners to submit signed letters to the state conservationist, endorsing implementation of four core soil health management principles when compatible with a land manager’s goals and operation. Numerous Virginia organizations joined forces to communicate the benefits of practices that improve soil structure, water holding capacity and organic matter. Though the original VSHC itself had no formal structure or officers, the individual partners accomplished a great deal in those early years. Many of the original partners collaborated with Virginia NRCS on Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) projects to research, demonstrate or promote one or more aspects of soil health implementation.

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Using a roller/crimper to kill cover crops helps with weed control and provides maximum erosion protection.

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The Coalition specifically seeks to:

  • Increase communication among soil health experts, practitioners & supporters.

  • Increase shared knowledge of the science and practices of healthy soils.

  • Support farmers in their efforts to build healthy soils.

  • Educate decision makers and the public about healthy soils.

  • Advance strategies to increase soil organic matter across Virginia.

Managed grazing improves overall soil quality leading to better forage.

Photos courtesy of Virginia NRCS