Soil Health

Soils have the capability to store more water or less water according to farming and ranching management practices.  A 2019 Healthy Soils Act promotes and supports better soil management practices to increase agricultural production as well as water retention.

Posts - Any technical papers, data, opinions, announcements, etc. that relate to this Soil Health issue appear just below.

State Engineer’s Water Policy and Infrastructure Task Force Report

By Norm Gaume | January 11, 2023

New Mexico enters 2023 in a water crisis. But with unprecedented peril comes unprecedented opportunity.
To address that challenge, and those opportunities, a diverse task force of stakeholders from across New Mexico came together from June to November 2022, studying the problems and coming to broad, shared conclusions: our challenges are dire, but there are things we can do if we act now.

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NMSU Online Soil Health Workshop

By Executive Council | October 8, 2020

NMSU is sponsoring an on-line Soil Health Workshop on October 27 and 28 from 9:00 am -3:30 pm each day. Click here to register. Join us for this two-day online Soil Health Workshop. The workshop will address fundamental aspects of soil health, as well as applied soil management for cropland and rangeland. Topics include the…

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Healthy Soil Is a Reservoir

By Carolyn Kennedy | August 4, 2020

Maintaining healthy soil aids our water supply! Healthy soil is not compacted but is absorbent. Organic matter in the soil, microbes and plant material, is made of carbon. That, along with the minerals present, creates an aerated structure for the soil. The dead matter is food for the plants and structurally acts like a sponge.…

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We welcome postings on this or other water-related issues from interested parties.  Please email your posts, preferably in Word format, to the Editorial Board at

Description of the Issue

Soil health is a continuum, ranging from poor to excellent!  As soil health improves, the ability to absorb (infiltration) and retain water increases significantly.  This occurs as soils get covered with cooling vegetation which serves to build soil organic matter and modifies evaporation.  Management of land will dictate the health of the soil, so human decision-making will affect water quantity and quality.  The exciting part of all of this is that as the soil becomes healthier and retains more water for groundwater recharge and vegetative growth, species diversity, productivity and profitability can increase.

The Water Advocates played a supporting role in causing passage of the 2019 Healthy Soil Act. That act promotes and supports farming and ranching systems and other forms of land management that increase soil organic matter, aggregate stability, microbiology and water retention to improve the health, yield and profitability of the soils of the state. The Advocates continue to work toward effective implementation.

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