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Sustainable Agriculture: Programs

Soils

Looking at Soil Quality at an Organic Production WorkshopSoil is the foundation of agriculture. Soils in Georgia are old and highly weathered. This means they have naturally low fertility and usually have a low pH (acidic). Years of cultivation in many places have caused the loss of the most fertile topsoil and soil organic matter. Many sustainable agriculture practices are designed to help restore what is sometimes referred to as “soil quality”

What is soil quality? It is the capacity of the soil to support healthy plants and animals, and to perform environmental services such as retaining or breaking down pollutants as well as absorbing and filtering water. The key to soil quality is soil organic matter because it influences things such as fertility, the movement of water into the soil and how roots grow. Soil organic matter in Georgia is naturally lower than in many other places, due to our warm climate and abundant rainfall that causes organic matter to break down. Consequently, we have to manage our soils more carefully than some areas of the United States. This site is designed to link you to management practices and tools you can use to help restore or improve soil quality on your land.