“We believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.” In living out this opening line from the FFA creed, we reached out to all the FFA Chapters in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma and shared our Soil Health Resource Guide, lesson plans and sponsored an essay contest entitled Why Soil Health Is Important To Me and My Community. Here are the winning entries from each state. Each winning student was awarded $50 and their chapter was awarded a $100 prize, but more importantly, hundreds of students were challenged to think about Why Soil Health Is Important!
Maggie Clark Senior, Johnson-Brock High School
Instructor: Ashton Bohling
Soil is the Foundation of all things living, because of this it is important to me and my community. I live in a farming community where almost all jobs are tied in with agriculture. These jobs are available because of good soil health. In the case where our area did not have good soil health my community would be less populated and wouldn’t be able to support the local businesses. Having good soil health allows for a bigger income for farmers which boosts our local economy and helps sustain our community’s livelihood. Practices like no-till, tiling, and cover cropping aid to reduce erosion and help improve soil health and increase the life of the soil. Maintaining good soil health increases yield for farmers and ensures a good harvest for many years to come. Having healthy soil allows for farmers to cut costs on inputs increasing their income. When income is stable for farmers it keeps future generations in the farming industry, which continues to supply jobs for community members. In conclusion, having healthy soil allows for an increase in food production, increases the livelihood of the community, and allows for future generations to flourish. Maintaining soil health is incredibly important to me and my community.
Brylie Owen Senior, Morris Public Schools
Instructors: Mr. Clark & Mrs. Burkett
FFA is the future farmers of America, and the foundation for this future is healthy soil. Soil allows for farmers to work the land and provide for America. Soil is a huge part of agriculture and plays an important role in the way of life. Crops are grown to feed the nation, soil connects communities, and is the starting point for all living things. I am a senior at Morris Public Schools, and I can say that soil has impacted my life tremendously. I raise Boer Goats to show at livestock shows, and without the soil my animals would never survive. The grass, feed, straw, and bedding are all components needed to have a successful product for the show season. None of the things I mentioned above would be possible without soil. Not only has soil impacted me, it has impacted my community. We have a Morris Community Garden and it plays an important role in the lives of students. It provides a hands-on opportunity to understand how crops are grown, and how important soil is in the production of these crops. We have had the community garden for three years, and it has provided food for those in need. Not only does soil provide food for our community it provides jobs. Morris is a low-income community, and many people get their way of life from the soil. Our community is filled with farmers, so the soil is not producing food, it is producing the way of life.
Chancey Hauck Junior, La Crosse High School
Instructor: Ashley Klozenbucher
Soil is important to our world. Both big and small, soil impacts our natural environment. Our world depends on the nutrients and produce that soil provides to our globe. Without true health soil, us humans could not be healthy. We need to work with the land and for the land, to provide for many Americans and for future generations. What we do to the soil today such as the care we take and the fertilizers we use will affect many generations to come. We are truly providing for the future generations simply through soil. There are many ways to help the soil and help to provide for our future generations. One way is crop rotation. Crop rotation has been around for centuries. Crop rotation helps make the soil richer in things that other plants can’t do. Such as corn taking a lot of nitrogen out of the soil, it would be smart to plant nitrogen-fixing beans next in that soil. This helps to avoid having to spray the crop and allows farmers to save money and time, along with soil. It also helps to increase the crop yield. There are many ways soil impacts us. Whether through our world, or simply the food on our plate, soil has an important role in our society. Big or small, soil impacts our natural environment. We are truly providing for future generations to come.