A study via the USDA-National Resources Inventory (NRI) reports that whole-field erosion rates have declined by 35% between 1982 and 2017, largely due to increased conservation efforts from farmers across the U.S. Swapping non-productive farmland for Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)-supported conservation practices like cover crops or pollinator habitat have lead to soil health regeneration and additional revenue for some farmers.

Lead NRCS National Agronomist Betsy Dierberger says targeting small areas to address soil erosion is often more impactful than applying whole-field practices. However, there is still work to be done in managing top-soil erosion. Topsoil can usually only generate at a rate of about a half ton per acre per year, while wind and water erosion can take off between 2 to 3 tons per year, on average. Dierberger says NRCS can help farmers adjust their conservation plans to maximize soil health benefits.

Read more on soil erosion and conservation practices here.