The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has drafted six measures recommended by a group of federal, university, public and private sector soil health experts.
Soil health is defined as the capacity of the soil to function as a vital living ecosystem to sustain plants, animals, and humans.
The six key soil physical and biological processes are: Organic matter dynamics and carbon sequestration; Soil structural stability; Microbial activity; Carbon food source; Bioavailable N; and Microbial community diversity. Also, laboratory methods for assessing each indicator were chosen based on interpretability, ease of use, cost effectiveness, measurement repeatability, and ability to inform agricultural management decisions.
NRCS is accepting comments on the draft through December 13.