“Howdy,” he called. “I’m Rich, Rich Soyalls. Welcome!”
“Whoa! What a wild ride. Where am I?” the newcomer called back from the muddy quagmire. Will E. Rhode explained that before the storm he had been covered with rows of young corn plants, apparently up-stream somewhere. He went on to tell the sad tale of how, decades ago, he was healthy, fertile topsoil. “But after years of mismanagement, I guess I’m not surprised that I’ve been torn from my home and now am a wrung out muddy mess.”
Rich, on the other hand, had soaked up that healthy dose of rain and never felt better. Settled in this same location for hundreds of years Rich Soyalls hosts a vital, living ecosystem chockful of decaying matter and roots that feed all manner of tiny creatures and micro-organisms.
“Yeah, I work for Ima Wizepharmer,” Rich explained. “She treats me well, and I grow some great crops for her! Wizepharmer follows a few basic practices:
- Minimize disturbing me.
- Cover me with mulch or crop residue.
- Keep me well stocked with roots by planting cover crops and rotating in perennial and forage crops.
- Foster biodiversity by varying crops and cover crop rotations.
“And catch this bonus! Humans are complaining about all the carbon (CO2) in the atmosphere these days. They say there’s 411 parts per million(ppm) in the atmosphere. The long-term average has been 275 ppm since humans first arrived. So there’s way too much, and it’s messing up the climate! But these practices pull boatloads of carbon out of the air and incorporate it into the soil making me even more fertile. I love that stuff!”
Rich and Will agreed that folks like Wizepharmer are true Heartland Heroes. Not only do they feed the world, but by using these best practices they draw climate-disrupting carbon out of the air and put it into the soil where it grows vibrant living ecosystems. It’s a Win-Win-Win: healthier, more stable soils, greater crop yields, and less climate disruption.
What’s not to like? With today’s environmental challenges, we really can’t afford to do less. Because this is the only home we’ll ever know. It’s where we’re all forever… Earthbound.