Soil

Healthy soils provide every advantage to farmers and their communities: higher yields, better water storage, drought resistance, less erosion, healthier food, and carbon storage.

Our Vision for Montana's Soil Health

We are multigenerational land managers and business owners, whether young, old, weak or strong. We are innovative and proactive and seek to lead by example. We affirm our ability to thrive and flourish as we partner with nature and our communities. 

We believe that when we work together to increase the life and diversity in our soil, that life and diversity is increased in our plants, wildlife, and communities. When we focus on soil, we make thoughtful decisions that better the health of our water, air and food and make our communities more resilient. We believe we can learn from nature and each other through positive communication to build healthy soil and keep families on the land and in rural communities.

We are working to create a world where future generations are proud of our choices, where we work with the land instead of against it, and soil is recognized as one of our greatest and most precious resources. We believe in a future where we all see a connection between the health of the soil and our own health and well-being.

The moment is now. The actions we take today will determine the world that our children and grandchildren inherit. We know the path to healthy soil and we can choose our future right now, but we know we won’t have that luxury for long. Will you help us restore nature’s abundance?

Issues We Work On

Building Soil Health and Knowledge

Building soil health is different everywhere depending on a property’s existing soils, history, and microclimate. We host “Soil Crawls,” public events where we gather with experts to explore the soil health on our members’ ranches and learn what we could do to improve. Check out our Soil Health Resources Page for more information.

Soil Builders Network

At Northern Plains, we are building a network of Montanans (the Soil Builders Network) who are interested in improving our state’s soil health through good practice and good policy. We also have created an email forum, where anyone can ask experts about soil, share the latest resources or events, and let others know what’s working for them. If you’re interested in joining the forum or Soil Builder’s Network, you can sign up by sending an email to mtsoilhealthgroup@northernplains.org

State Soil Health

We strongly believe that an increase in resources and technical assistance for programs supporting regenerative agriculture and soil health in Montana would benefit our working landscapes and agriculture. One policy solution we are advocating for is a resolution for a Montana Healthy Soils week. The resolution would be intended to raise awareness of the importance of soil health and promote its stewardship. 

Read our factsheet to learn more about our state soil health work.

History and Accomplishments

Soil Crawls:

Over eight years, our soil crawls have impacted hundreds of people in more than sixty different communities across the state and region. This has expanded the number of people participating in restoring our soil and has empowered individuals to create regenerative abundance locally and for the long haul.

Soil Outreach Initiative: 

In 2022, the Montana Association of Conservation Districts, Montana Watershed Coordination Council, Northern Plains Resource Council and many other partners worked together to ask producers: What more might be done to better support farmers and ranchers in managing soils in Montana? Through a series of listening sessions and surveys a report was crafted. You can view the report and recommendations that emerged here.

Montana Climate Assessment:

In the spring of 2020 Northern Plains joined together with several other stakeholders to urge the Montana Climate Solutions Task Force and Governor Bullock to recognize the adoption of a soil health program as a top priority for Montana’s climate solutions strategy. 

Active Campaigns

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