MP and NDP agriculture critic Alistair MacGregor introduced a private member's bill to create a National Soil Health Strategy for Canada. | File photo

NDP introduces soil health bill

A law being introduced by the NDP vows to help fight food insecurity and support farmers. MP and NDP agriculture critic Alistair MacGregor introduced a private member’s bill to create a National Soil Health Strategy for Canada. The law would help maintain, enhance and rebuild the capacity of soils, according to the NDP. “Healthy soils […] Read more

The Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, Saskatchewan Forage Council and the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing, in Alberta, are joining forces to promote each other's events and activities. | Screencap via mfga.net

Forage groups join forces on soil health

In many ways, farm shows compete with other farm shows for attendance, sponsorships and the almighty dollar. But three ag groups on the Prairies are taking a different approach. The Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association, Saskatchewan Forage Council and the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing, in Alberta, are joining forces to promote […] Read more

Allison Squires uses an OMAX 40X-2500X LED digital trinocular compound microscope to check a sample of vermicompost to make sure it has a high diversity of biology before she uses it to make the compost tea with which she will coat seeds this spring. | Cody Straza photo

Microscope becomes key tool for farmers

Organic producer uses instrument to assess soil health and identify the good and bad micro-organisms that are present

The microscope is becoming an essential tool to brew up a good batch of compost tea. But composting or not, it should be part of every farmer’s tool kit, said Allison Squires of Upland Organics near Wood Mountain, Sask. “I have found the microscope to be one of my most useful tools that we use […] Read more


Senator Rob Black of Ontario has proposed that the Senate's agriculture committee lead a comprehensive study on soil health. | File photo

Senator seeks public support for soil study

Senator Rob Black of Ontario has proposed that the Senate’s agriculture committee lead a comprehensive study on soil health. He is asking Canadians, especially those with an interest in soil, to send an email to the committee or members of the committee before it selects its priorities for the next session of Parliament. The letter […] Read more

Senator Rob Black of Ontario has proposed that the Senate's agriculture committee lead a comprehensive study on soil health. | File photo

Senator looks for soil study support

A Canadian senator wants your help. Senator Rob Black of Ontario has proposed that the Senate’s agriculture committee lead a comprehensive study on soil health. He is asking Canadians, especially those with an interest in soil, to send an email to the committee or members of the committee before it selects its priorities for the […] Read more


The author argues that we will not be able to sustain our food production if our soils continue to be degraded at the current rate.  |  File photo

Start planting the seed about the importance of soil health

What’s the big deal about soil? It’s all over the place. And anyway, it only affects farmers, right? That might be your first reaction upon seeing the title of this article. That’s because we really don’t talk much about soil, one of our most precious resources. I want to change that. Of course, soil is […] Read more

Over the last three to five years, soil health has become a major point of discussion in North American agriculture. | File photo

General Mills program takes aim at soil health

General Mills wants to change the world, through better soil health. This morning the maker of Cheerios and Nature Valley granola bars, announced plans to promote regenerative agriculture in North America and around the world. The company plans to partner with organic and conventional farmers to increase the adoption of cover crops, diverse crop rotations, […] Read more

Forages can enhance soil by enhancing energy capture, investing in ecosystems and enhancing recycling.  |  File photo

Soil health can be a difficult term to pin down

Soil fertility is more than just health; it also encompasses yield, climate regulation, water filtration and biodiversity


Soil health is not a scientific term. It conjures imagery of human wellness but the term is imprecise and ambiguous. So says Henry Janzen, well-known Agriculture Canada research scientist in the fields of carbon, nitrogen and sulfur cycling, greenhouse gas emissions and soil carbon sequestration. Soil health is context dependent, he told those participating in […] Read more


 Tannis Axten builds a fresh, living tea for injection into the seedrow from compost placed into 500 gallons of water and bubbled with an air pump.  |  Axten Farm photo

Compost tea makes soil more active

Southeastern Saskatchewan farmers use enhanced biology to improve their crops through a healthy approach to dirt

Southeastern Saskatchewan farmers use enhanced biology to improve their crops through a healthy approach to dirt

Derek and Tannis Axten apply compost tea soil inoculant with a liquid kit on their 60-foot drill to fast track soil regeneration at a broad acre scale. The couple work a 6,000-acre family farm with two-thirds of its land base in Minton, Sask., and the rest near Milestone, Sask. They intercrop and use cover crops […] Read more

Farm couple Cody Straza and Allison Squires will be integrating cattle onto their farm next year to improve the soil. |  Jeremy Simes photo

Bringing in livestock key to rebuilding soil

More farmers are starting to use livestock to help regenerate soils, which can reduce inputs and produce higher yields down the road. They spoke about their livestock integration plans during the Western Canada Conference on Soil Health and Grazing held in Edmonton Dec. 5-7. Cody Straza and Allison Squires have an organic grain farm near […] Read more