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Announcing the 2023 Producer of the Year Award Winner: Clay and Rachel Hutchens

Clay and Rachel, winners of the 2023 WaSHI Producer of the Year Award, are very thoughtful and intentional in the way they farm. Focusing on managing residue in ways that work for the land in the years to come and prioritize using a diverse crop rotation to improve crop yields and better manage soil nutrients and organic matter.

Aggregation 2023: Soil Science, Farmers, Friendship & Ferries

The name Aggregation carries metaphorical weight, as it describes the vital process of soil minerals and carbon-rich organic matter binding together with microbial webs and glues. These aggregates build soil structure, provide biodiversity habitat, and allow air and water to flow through soil. Aggregation encapsulated our event: a convergence of diverse elements aimed at nurturing growth, knowledge, and resilience.

The State of the ‘State of the Soils’

In the ongoing quest to better understand and enhance soil health across Washington, the State of the Soils Assessment is in its fifth and final year of collecting soil samples. From 2020 to 2023, nearly 1000 soil samples were collected in over 60 crop types, led by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and Washington State University (WSU). These samples were collected with the help of over 300 farmers and 30 conservation districts (CDs). By the end of 2024, the soil archive will include over 1200 samples and management surveys, with soil collected from every county in Washington

{soils}: An R Package for Soil Health Reporting

Understanding soil data is crucial for making informed management decisions. However, soil health outcomes are determined by many variables, and the science surrounding soil health measurements is ever evolving. This makes it difficult to present soil data in an easy-to-understand way. Enter {soils}, a new R package developed to effectively visualize and describe soil health data.

Introducing the new Postdoctoral Scholar for the State of the Soils Assessment

We are pleased that Dr. Luis Reyes Rojas has joined the WaSHI team as of March 1 to work on the State of the Soils Assessment project. Luis is a soil pedologist with significant expertise in pedometrics (the use of statistical and mathematical approaches to understand why soils developed how and where they did)

best of washi 2023.

Best of WaSHI 2023

2023 marked significant progress in soil health, including increased funding for soil health practice adoption and advancements in soil research. This trend was not exclusive to the broader field of soil health but extended to Washington Soil Health Initiative (WaSHI) projects.

Review some of the most read articles and most viewed videos about soil health from WaSHI.

A tractor is mowing the grass in a field.

Soil Health Ambassador: Kesler Farms — Pasture Intercropping

Intercropping is frequently done in row crops, with two or more crops planted together. The Kesler’s have adopted the practice to improve their grass hay pasture. Intercropping benefits the soil by utilizing multiple species that provide different resources and nutrient demands and input than the main crop.

Six people standing near a Washington State University tent in a vineyard. One person wearing a red shirt has a microphone.

With Grape Ideas Comes Grape Collaboration

Members of the wine and juice grape community are heavily involved in this long-term research project, leading to collaborations with scientists, extension specialists, commercial wine and juice grape growers, crop advisors, viticulturists, vineyard managers, and others.

A field with different types of crops.

Cover Cropping “Aventures” with Dad

Just like his dad, my three-and-a-half-year-old boy loves the garden and all the things we grow in it. A favorite part of my job is the opportunity to put my boots in the fields of my home area and when I get to bring my boy Jack along for an “aventure,” as he would say.

A tractor pulling a tank driving through a field.

One year into Washington’s Climate Commitment Act: Impacts on Agriculture

As written, the CCA exempts agriculture from many of its rules. This includes the requirements to report GHG emissions, and to participate in the quarterly cap-and-invest auctions in which Washington businesses must purchase the right to emit GHGs. Nevertheless, agriculture is still substantially impacted by the law’s economic and environmental effects. In fact, the CCA has ushered in many benefits and challenges to Washington agriculture since its launch on January 1st, 2023.