The 1% Challenge is a project to increase soil organic matter by 1% on your land. This project is a long-term undertaking by farmers, gardeners, and landowners to increase their soil organic matter and improve their land through soil health* practices.
Soil organic matter is decomposed plant and animal material in your soil. This material gives your soil good tilth, a dark color, better water holding capacity, improved water infiltration rates, and it contributes to your overall soil fertility. Through photosynthesis, plants are able to tap excess carbon (CO2) in the atmosphere and put it to work in your soil.
Contact a Soil Conservationist to learn more or to develop a soil management plan today! Rubyana.Neely@ia.usda.gov or Heidi.Ackerman@ia.usda.gov or 515-993-3413, extension 3.
This link contains all of the documents we give to producers upon taking the pledge: Welcome Folder Pack–all handouts In it, you will find two documents that introduce you to the program, four documents of instructions for the recommended field observations, a document of instructions on soil sampling practices, a list of soil testing labs, and a number of NRCS publications that explain soil health. The file is designed to be printed double-sided on 8.5×11″ paper.
*Soil health is defined by the NRCS as the continued capacity of soil to function as a living ecosystem that supports plant, animal, and human life.