About Soil for Water
Soil for Water is a free, voluntary program of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT). Our job is supporting American farmers, ranchers, and land managers who want to make their land more resilient, their businesses more profitable, and their lives better through regenerative practices to catch and hold more water in the soil.
What does Soil for Water offer you? Since 2015, we’ve been working hard to:
- Promote peer-to-peer learning and adaptive management leading to practical solutions for real challenges producers face
- Build and support networks of ag producers and partners who want to learn together
- Provide free technical assistance to boost success through all stages of your regenerative journey
- Offer hands-on workshops featuring leading experts and experienced producers
- Create and share free publications, videos, webinars, and podcasts to fuel your success
- Advance value-added partnerships between public and private entities working in harmony to benefit agriculture, people, and the planet.
5 Soil Health Principles
Soil for Water builds on the five soil health principles as the foundation of everything we do
Keeping the soil covered acts as armor that:
- Controls wind and water erosion – Holds soil in place in windy or wet conditions.
- Reduces evaporation rates – Keeps more moisture available for plant use.
- Stabilizes soil temperatures – Makes soil warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot weather. The soil food web functions best when temperatures are moderate.
- Reduces compaction – Breaks up compacted soil and hardpans with living plant roots and prevents raindrops from hitting bare soil.
- Suppresses weed growth – Shades weed seedlings, inhibiting their growth.
- Improves habitat – Provides a protective habitat for the soil food web’s surface dwellers.
The Texas Trials
Since Soil for Water began in 2015, we have supported 15-20 Texas livestock operations in on-farm experiments including high stocking density for short duration, subsoil ripping, pasture cropping, multi-species grazing, and native seed planting. We are measuring the effects of these practices on soil health, ground cover, and plant biodiversity.
Click any marker on the map below to learn more about these ranches and ranchers.
We don’t currently plan to start any new research trials. However, if you’d like help in designing and running your own trial, or measuring changes in your land and soil, we’re always glad to help. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Soil for Water Team
Luz Ballesteros Gonzalez
Friends and Partners
Some material on this website is based upon work supported by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number NR203A750001C025.
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In addition, any reference to specific brands or types of products or services does not constitute or imply an endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for those products or services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are you funded?
Soil for Water is a program of the the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) a 501 (c)3 organization. Soil for Water launched in Texas in 2015 with support from the Dixon Water Foundation and the Meadows Foundation. Recent funders include the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS); Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation; Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program; and NCAT’s Kathleen Hadley Innovation Fund.
You too can support the Soil for Water network. We are grateful for charitable gifts from individuals and foundations which help us help ranchers and farmers in building resilient soils, farms, and communities.
Do you offer cost-share, loans, or grants?
While Soil for Water doesn’t provide direct financial assistance to producers, we stay current on programs that do. One place to scout opportunities is at the Soil for Water forum, in the Business, Marketing, and Economics category.
Do you offer technical assistance?
Yes! You can:
Where can I find more ag-related resources?
You’re in luck! Our sister program, NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program, is a one-stop shop for hundreds of informative publications, podcasts, videos, recorded webinars, and blogs on just about any topic you can imagine related to sustainable agriculture. If you want to stay on top of the latest releases, subscribe to ATTRA’s Weekly Harvest, a compendium of ag-related news and current opportunities.