Northern Plains leaders elevate soil stewardship
HELENA, Mont. – A new resolution was signed into law on May 12 that will designate the first week of April as Montana Soil Health Week and the first Wednesday in April as Montana Soil Health Day. The weeklong celebration is designed to raise awareness about how healthy soils can increase crop yields, strengthen food security, create greater climate resiliency, and improve nutrition. Soil Health Day and Week will also provide an opportunity to highlight the work of farmers, ranchers, gardeners, agencies, and organizations that are stewarding soil health across Montana.
“So much great work is happening in Montana to create healthier soils, and we are excited to have a platform to elevate that work,” said Elle Ross, a member of Northern Plains Resource Council, a conservation and family agriculture organization that helped craft the resolution and shepherd it through the legislative process.
“The bipartisan collaboration on this resolution shows how soil health can be a force for good, bringing Montanans from differing communities and perspectives together around something that benefits everyone,” continued Ross, who is also the Executive Director of the Helping Hands Food Bank in Hardin.
The resolution, SJ 9, was sponsored by Sen. Butch Gillespie (R-Ethridge) and co-sponsored by Sen. Janet Ellis (D-Helena). SJ 9 passed with overwhelming bipartisan support from both chambers of the Montana Legislature. Agriculture is one of Montana’s leading industries, and soil advocates note how cultivating greater soil health can generate increased profits and greater stability for the state’s farmers and ranchers.