Washington Soil Health Initiative
Diverse Solutions for Washington’s Diverse Soils
The Washington Soil Health Initiative, or WaSHI, is a partnership among the Washington State Conservation Commission, the Washington State Department of Agriculture, and Washington State University, working together to establish a coordinated approach to healthy soil in Washington. Through science-based technical assistance, policy support, research, outreach, education, and funding opportunities, WaSHI offers a win-win-win opportunity for farmers, the environment, and the people of Washington.
What is Soil Health?
Healthy soil is essential to agricultural and environmental sustainability and productivity. Just as good health is vital to human well-being, the ability of a soil system to perform key functions is crucial to its health. Soil organisms play a critical role in driving these functions, making soil health an essential component of a thriving ecosystem. Resilience is a key characteristic of healthy soils.
They should be able to withstand disturbances such as flooding, drought, or high winds while supporting crop and livestock production with suitable nutrients, moisture, and physical conditions. Beneficial soil biological activity is also necessary to decompose crop residues, cycle nutrients, form soil structure, and help fight plant disease. Healthy soils also contribute to environmental sustainability by filtering pollutants and reducing run-off.