The Soil Health Partnership had a seat at the table at the recent White House Drought Symposium which brought about 40 diverse groups together to discuss the federal government’s role in building drought resilience into water management systems.
Soil Health Partnership director Nicholas Goeser talked with other stakeholders about the organization’s mission to advance agricultural sustainability and productivity by quantifying and communicating the economic and environmental benefits of improved soil health.
“Many aspects of soil health play a direct role in drought mitigation,” Goeser said. “Improved soil organic matter, soil water holding capacity, infiltration, and aggregate stability all enhance the soil’s ability to retain moisture to help withstand the effects of drought.”
Goeser said several soil management practices, such as cover cropping and conservation tillage, can help to build soil health and defend against drought. This is accomplished by improving the ability of soil to absorb precipitation, reducing soil temperature and soil evaporation, and enhancing the ability of plants to take up soil moisture.
During the meeting, White House officials sought input on ways the federal government can reduce barriers to drought mitigation efforts, and to evaluate how public–private partnerships can help to build and implement strategies for long-term drought resilience. The symposium ended with a call to continue dialogue and expand upon opportunities presented during the panel discussions.