WSDA creating resources for policymakers and farmers

Author: Dani Gelardi, Senior Soil Scientist and WaSHI lead, Washington State Department of Agriculture

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The folks at the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) have been busy providing guidance on soil health to federal policymakers and farmers alike.

WaSHI open letter to USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently requested public input on how to allocate over $19 billion for conservation programs across the United States. WaSHI submitted the below recommendations:

  1. Increased hiring of economists, social scientists, and data scientists
  2. The creation of programs to attract and train multidisciplinary practitioners to soil science, agriculture, and land management
  3. The distribution of state-specific funds to improve COMET or climate impact estimation tools
  4. The creation of a program to fund experimental, “high risk high reward” soil health practice research and implementation
  5. The creation of a unified, nationally-recognized soil health grower certification program
  6. Crop insurance reform and the creation of climate-smart financial tools
  7. Increased funding for technical assistance
  8. The creation of toolkits and best management practices for statewide soil health initiatives
  9. Increased coordination, communication, and collaboration
To learn more about WaSHI recommendations and guiding principles for promoting soil health, read the open letter here.

Soil sampling webinar

Interested in learning more about how to interpret soil tests? Follow the link below to watch a recorded presentation co-created by Dani Gelardi (WSDA) and Deirdre Griffin LaHue (WSU), presented through the Washington Conservation Commission’s Center for Technical Development (CTD).

What: Understanding Soil Tests (recorded 1 hour webinar from March 14th, 2023)

Where: CTD’s Youtube channel:

Why: Soil testing has changed over time—to become more comprehensive, but also more confusing

More info: Watch this free recorded webinar to learn all about interpreting soil tests. Discuss how soil testing has changed over time—to become more comprehensive, but also more confusing! Navigate the brave new world of “soil health” by going back to the basics. Why is it still so crucial to measure soil pH, soil texture, and soil organic matter? How can these building blocks help us understand new measurements of soil biological and physical properties? Hear the answers while learning best practices for getting and interpreting quality laboratory results.

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.