SoilCon: Increasing the Awareness of Soil Health Across Washington

Author: Molly McIlquham, Extension Coordinator, Washington State University

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SoilCon has been an incredible resource for those interested in improving soil health across the globe.

During a listening session held across Washington state, a seemingly simple question was posed: where can one find regionally specific information about soil health? However, the answer turned out to be much more complex than expected. Due to the diversity of cropping systems and agroecosystems across the state, general soil health improvement guidance falls short. So, to find commonalities and clarify differences in soil health in different regions and to fulfill a primary goal of the Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI) of increasing awareness of soil health, SoilCon was born. 

SoilCon has been an incredible resource for those interested in improving soil health across the globe. Over the past three years, the event has brought together 84 experts from across the country to share their expertise on a range of topics, including long-term research, soil biology, and Native American perspectives of soil health. Over three years, SoilCon has covered many subjects, providing something for everyone. 

Thanks to generous sponsorship from Western SARE, SoilCon has been available to all attendees for free. The organizers from various Washington-based organizations invested countless hours in surveying the interests of agricultural professionals to ensure that the conference covered the most relevant topics. SoilCon has successfully featured various soil health-related topics, including policy updates, farmer perspectives, and research findings shared through concise lightning talks. SoilCon has been a valuable resource for agricultural professionals, providing them with up-to-date information on soil health topics for free. 

And SoilCon23 itself was no different, where the focus was taking soil health basic principles to practice with the most popular sessions, including the highly anticipated producer panel, the cover cropping academic roundtable, and University of Wisconsin’s Randy Jacksons talk titled “Climate-Smart Agriculture and Healthy Soil Comes From Agroecosystems That Regenerate Soil Carbon Over Time.”

If you missed any year of SoilCon, don’t worry. All sessions were recorded, and you can access them on WSU CSANR’s YouTube channel (you can subscribe, too). And if you’re overwhelmed by all the information in the videos, don’t worry! The SoilCon23 resource roundup is here to save the day summarizing key talking points and providing links to resources mentioned in each talk. 

SoilCon has become a valuable resource for those seeking regionally specific information about soil health. The event’s broad range of topics and diverse speakers have provided attendees with a wealth of knowledge to apply to their agroecosystems. If you’re interested in improving soil health in your region, tune in for SoilCon 2024! 

While SoilCon24 may look different than years past, the organizers hope to host both in-person and virtual events to provide regionally specific information to attendees across the state. By subscribing to the WaSHI newsletter, you can stay up-to-date on all SoilCon-related news and information.

This article was published by the Washington Soil Health Initiative. For more information, visit To have these posts delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to the WaSHI newsletter. To find a soil science technical service provider, visit the Washington State University Extension website or the Washington State Conservation District website.