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What are some features of good soil? Any farmer will tell you that a good soil:

  • feels soft and crumbles easily
  • drains well and warms up quickly in the spring
  • does not crust after planting
  • soaks up heavy rains with little runoff
  • stores moisture for drought periods
  • has few clods and no hardpan
  • resists erosion and nutrient loss
  • supports high populations of soil organisms
  • has a rich, earthy smell
  • does not require increasing inputs for high yields
  • produces healthy, high-quality crops

All these criteria indicate a soil that functions effectively today and will continue to produce crops long into the future. These characteristics can be built up through management practices that optimize the processes found in native soils.