Working Together for Soil Health – Winter Work Sessions


Tilth, soil quality, soil health – whatever we call it – has been a prominent topic for many people in Eastern Washington for decades. Landmark research and conservation efforts were made with the collaborative efforts of researchers, farmers, and extension agents across the PNW over the course of the 30 year-long STEEP project. The program, which stands for ‘Solutions to Environmental and Economic Problems,’ focused on and successfully reduced soil erosion in the region. A summary of that work is available on the Soil and Water Resources publications page, along with a collection of information on soil acidity and liming and resources for increasing production efficiency with precision agriculture. If you are interested in soil health, quality, tilth, conservation, or just interested in maintaining or improving the soil as a capital resource for your farm – head on over and check out some of the great soils work that has been done at WSU and with partners and keep reading for a unique in-person opportunity. A big take-away from the STEEP project was that there is still a lot of work to be done to serve the soils of our region well.

Our team, including Dr. Maren Friesen, with Dr. Haiying Tao and Carol McFarland from the WSU Farmers Network, has been continuing to think about soil health. We want to use this momentum to teach, learn, and support further work to advance the thinking on opportunities to improve the health of our region’s soils. We have attended and hosted some great events focusing on delivery of research-based information on soil health – and what we’ve seen are the dynamic conversations that have to stop when breaks end. Is your favorite part of workshops and conferences talking with others who are interested in the same topic? Graphs are nice but we think conversations are also a great way for everyone to learn more about the nitty gritty of soil health.

In recent years, interest in soil health has been gaining momentum across the state, and one result was the Washington State Soil Health Initiative. With funding from the Washington State Soil Health Initiative, we are organizing three upcoming work sessions to hear what is on everyone’s minds and create a forum to connect producers, science, industry, conservation, and policy.

We will have three dates to accommodate availability and to keep our sessions small enough to hear from everyone.

The first two sessions will be held at The Courtyard Marriott in Pullman at 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. on February 7th and 21st, the third will be at 9:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. on March 13th at the Red Lion in Pasco. All sessions will be about five hours and include lunch.

Due to limited capacity, we are not able to offer registration at the door so please apply at least one week prior to your desired session date(s) so we can best accommodate your interest.

Thanks to the Soil Health Initiative, there is no cost to attend these sessions – we look forward to attendees showing up ready to participate in some great conversations and learn a lot from each other!

For questions or comments, contact Carol McFarland at or Keith Curran at project was funded by the Washington State Soil Health Initiative (SHI). The SHI is funded by the state of Washington and was created to address knowledge gaps, better understand linkages, and provide better guidance to stakeholders related to soil health.