Soil Health



Soil health is the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains and improves the living condition of plants, animals and humans. The Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are partnering to provide answers to the most frequently asked soil health questions on a webpage.

Should visitors need additional information there is a form on the page where questions can be submitted to two Soil Health experts: Greg Brann and Mike Hubbs. A profile of each expert is also available on the page.

In additon to the FAQ, visitors will be able to view a soil health photo gallery and videos. 

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Local Farmer Featured Nationally

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Local farmer, Tomm Brady, of Bell Buckle was recently featured in a USDA-NRCS #FridaysOnTheFarm article.  Mr. Brady utilized the EQIP program with assistance from the NRCS and Bedford County SCD to devise a conservation plan for his 80-acre farm which has proven beneficial to himself, his herd and the environment.  His future plans include implementing a multi-species herd.  For the full story, please read the original article on the NRCS website.







What is Soil Health?

The continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains and improves the living condition of plants, animals and humans.

What is the quickest way to improve soil health?

There are four keys to improving soil health:

  • Less Disturbance
  • Increase Cover
  • Increase Diversity
  • Have living roots all year

Can I pull gravel out of my creek?

You may be able to pull gravel from a creek, but only within guidelines of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).  For more guidance call the TDEC office in Columbia at 931-490-3941 or visit their website:

In what situations do I need a permit?

Most work on streams, stream banks, waterways, or drainage areas should be reviewed by TDEC.  If you have questions concerning permits you should contact the TDEC office in Columbia at 931-490-3941, or visit their website:

Who do I call for a burn permit?

The agency to call for a burn permit is the Tennessee Department of Agriculture “Division of Forestry”, their number is 1-877-350-(BURN) 2876 or online:  Burn permits are required from October 15 thru May 15 and at other times during certain weather conditions.

Where do I find soils information and aerial imagery for my farm?

The USDA-NRCS website provides aerial photography & soils information.

Where can I find floodplain maps for my property?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a great deal of flood information on their website. We have the ability in our office to generate maps for landowners with aerial imagery that has a flood plain map overlaid. Contact us to get a map of your property.

Who do I call when trying to locate underground utility lines (gas, phone, cable, electric, etc.)?

Before you DIG call “Tennessee One Call” at 811 or go to their website:  A person can be held liable for damages incurred if they dig and do not call Tennessee One Call.

Other Questions?

Please call our office at 931-684-1441 x3

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Our History

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On September 19, 1933 actual operation of the Soil Erosion Service began.  Hugh H. Bennett transferred from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to the U.S. Department of the Interior as Director of the Soil Erosion Service.  He was the first and only employee of the new agency on this date.  The following day Lillian Wieland entered on duty as his secretary.  From this beginning the agency’s growth was rapid and many thousands of people were employed during subsequent years. The first great dust storm was on May 11, 1934, originating in the “Dust Bowl” of the Great Plains area sweeping fine soil particles over Washington, D.C., and 300 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. 

On February 27, 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States, recommended that states allow landowners to form soil and water conservation districts.

*On August 4, 1937, the first Soil Conservation District was organized in the United States.  Established in North Carolina in parts of Anson and Union Counties the district was named “Brown Creek Soil Conservation District”.

*Across the United States, nearly 3,000 conservation districts—almost one in every county—are helping local people to conserve land, water, forests, wildlife and related natural resources.

*More than 17,000 citizens serve in elected or appointed positions on conservation districts' governing boards. The districts work directly with millions of cooperating land managers nationwide to manage and protect natural resources.

*Among other things, conservation districts help:

· implement farm, ranch, and forestland conservation practices to protect soil productivity, water quality and quantity, air quality, and wildlife habitat;

· conserve and restore wetlands, which purify water and provide habitat for birds, fish, and numerous other animals;

· protect groundwater resources;

· assist communities and homeowners to plant trees and other land cover to hold soil in place, clean the air, provide cover for wildlife, and beautify neighborhoods;

· help developers control soil erosion and protect water and air quality during construction; and reach out to communities and schools to teach the value of natural resources and encourage conservation efforts. 

*Information found on the National Association of Conservation Districts website:

The Bedford County Soil Conservation District was organized on July 7, 1952 to assist landowners in conserving the county's soil and protecting its water resources.  Today, the District has broadened its scope of work to include the conservation and protection of all our natural resources.  The District partners with many agencies, departments, and universities to promote and establish wildlife habitat, pollinators, stream protection, soil health cropping systems, waste facilities, and more efficient livestock operations.  All of these efforts work together to enhance conservation and better the environment throughout Bedford County.


Bedford County Soil Conservation District is an Equal Opportunity Provider and Employer.


Grazing Calendars

Click on the cover image to download a copy of the calendar. Please be patient. The file is large and may take several minutes.