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SHI Featured Articles

A photos of a cookie

What makes a good soil health indicator?

My 8-year old daughter recently told me, “Daddy, I had THE BEST cookie at school today.” When I asked why it was the best, she immediately began to explain all the reasons this cookie was so wonderful, “Twice as big as a normal cookie,” “Shaped like a snowman,” “Colorful frosting with all kinds of colors,” “Soft and chewy.” The list went on. Just as my daughter had extensive criteria for what makes a cookie good, we can also think about criteria for what makes a soil health indicator good.
A Washington state map showing the locations of each of the LTAREs

Additional long-term agroecological research and extension sites selected

About a month ago, a review panel discussed funding additional LTARE sites as part of WSU’s Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI). These sites are the core activity of WSU in its role in WaSHI with the other two agencies, the Washington State Department of Agriculture and the State Conservation Commission. These sites represent major agroecological cropping systems or production zones and evaluate the business as usual alongside other treatments, including moonshot approaches to maintain or improve soil health.
An aerial image of the Mount Vernon long term site

A focus on soil health in Northwestern Washington

The main objective of the Mount Vernon Long-term Agroecological Research and Extension site is to identify and promote management practices that enhance soil health, carbon sequestration, and the environmental and economic sustainability of agricultural systems in western Washington
Researchers using a hydraulic soil probe

What does it take to start a long-term experiment?

“What were they thinking?” It’s a common question asked by agricultural scientists about the design of long-term cropping system experiments. Starting a long-term study is a big investment and having asked those questions ourselves while working with multi-decadal trials, you can imagine how daunting it was to be tasked with setting up a Long-term Agroecological Research and Extension (LTARE) site through the Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI).
A tractor on a farm with animals in background

Sustainable Farms and Fields launches!

The first application review has occurred for Sustainable Farms and Fields, a program of the Washington State Conservation Commission with a goal of increasing carbon sequestration and reducing greenhouse gas emissions on farmland, rangeland, and aquaculture tidelands.
Data scientist Jadey Ryan holding a bulk density soil sample

A new data scientist and data tool from WSDA

Ever wonder who manages the soil sampling data from the State of the Soils Assessment? Or who writes the code that produces our Soil Health Reports?