Official Nebraska Government Website

Soil Health

Everything we produce begins with the soil.

Nebraska farmers have known for decades that soil quality is the very foundation of sustainable crop production. We simply cannot produce the food we need on the scale we need without soil. Soil is the growing medium for much of the world’s food. Protecting, preserving and nurturing soils is critical to our ability to produce a reliable, sustainable food supply.

The Soil Health Partnership is a farmer-led initiative focused on identifying, testing and measuring management practices to improve soil health and enhance sustainable agricultural production.

Many farmers across the country are implementing innovative management practices that result in economic and environmental benefits. The Soil Health Partnership builds upon the work of these farmers to provide connections between on-farm practices and improving soil health.


Cover Crops

More and more Nebraska farmers are planting cover crops to improve soil health, reduce erosion and increase soil moisture. Cover crops are typically planted immediately after harvesting the primary cash crop (such as corn).

Cover crops include radishes, turnips, rye and many other species. The root systems of these plants help stabilize the soil, helping reduce erosion from wind and rain. Water infiltration and nutrient dispersion are also improved. The cover crops eventually die of in the winter or are killed prior to spring planting — providing additional nutrients and organic matter for the soil.