Healthy soil acts like a sponge, as it retains water until it is needed.

U.S. Sen. Tina Smith was hoping to soak in some information this past Tuesday afternoon about good soil health when she visited Stoney Creek Farm located near Redwood Falls.

There she interacted with Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz and learned about the efforts they have implemented in their operation and the impact that is having on the soil.

Smith also observed firsthand how that healthy soil works thanks to Holly Hatlewick of the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).  Hatlewick set up a rain simulator at Stoney Creek Farm that demonstrates the impact of different tillage practices and the importance of having organic matter available in the soil.

Smith expressed how impressed she was with the demonstration, adding she would love to be able to take it to Washington, D.C. and set it up to let others in Congress see for themselves just how much of an impact good soil health can have on everything from wind and water erosion to water retention and groundwater.

During the visit, Smith also heard from Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz about the fact that the efforts they have been successful in accomplishing did not happen overnight, and Grant emphasized the importance of the federal government continuing to support programs through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), as the education of its programs, as well as those offered by the soil and water conservation districts, were a big help to them and can be to others who have an open mind.

Smith equated the work that is being done on sites like Stoney Creek Farm to any other businesses, adding to be successful it is critical to diversify.

Smith wondered what it would take to convince others to get involved in the investment of soil health. Breitkreutz said it takes people who are willing to make the long-term investment, adding in the end efforts like this can be more cost effective.