Stephen Carr, CEO of International Soil and Water Renewables and the leading authority on soil imprinting points out the difference between availability and allocation. Understanding this distinction goes to the heart of the problem; misunderstanding it means the opportunity to prevent disaster will be missed. “The current drought in California is part of a long pattern in the region’s climate history. These events are just the latest of those common to semi-arid regions. Identifying technologies and innovations that re-allocate finite water resources will be the key that unlocks the solution. In other words, the water situation is not a drought crisis, it is a water distribution crisis.”
Depleted soils and water supplies are symptoms of more than drought, they are cries for a new model for crop production. The current agricultural model:
• uses over 70% of the freshwater on the planet
• requires ever-increasing inputs (water, fuel, chemicals, time)
• keeps farmers dependent on resources they can’t control
Farmers know that successful crop production requires conditioned soil, adequate hydration and resource preservation. They also know that the current model does not fulfill these requirements. Soil imprinting is a powerful solution that has been shown to mitigate agricultural problems associated with drought, erosion and run-off as well as making farming predictable and profitable.
In an economic analysis of soil imprint technology, Dr. L. D. Norton concludes, “as the cost of good clean water for irrigation increases, the economic benefit of such a water-saving technology is immense. The higher yields and reduced fertilizer costs, through better utilization of water and nutrient delivery to plants via these technologies, is potentially huge.”
Soil imprinting is accomplished by rolling a contoured wheel over plowed ground to create a waffled pattern of mini-reservoirs. Imprint wheels are energy-neutral and equally efficient whether they are retrofitted to tractor, livestock or human power. What happens in these mini-reservoirs, which function as ideal micro-ecosystems for crop growth, has allowed farmers on four continents to become more profitable despite adverse conditions, like prolonged drought and extreme heat stress.
In test fields, soil imprinting has exceeded expectations for every crop to date. It produces predictable increases in profit and yield in the first season and cumulative benefits in the years that follow. Its primary actions are:
• water sequestration
• topsoil preservation
• erosion elimination
• run-off mitigation
These actions build soil condition and fertility that result in, on average, 30% increases in crop quality and crop yield with 30% lower inputs.
An additional benefit for early adapters is that farmers who implement soil imprinting are eligible for CCP benefits, while those who use methods like dammer diking are not.
Soil chemist and CEO of Arise Research and Discovery, Dr. Larry Stephen describes the advantages of soil imprinting like this, “Topsoil loss is greatly reduced by water retention practices... The imprint wheel indicates an increase in water absorbency and will also keep valuable topsoil in its place. To further add to this energy reduction, plants will increase in brix and protein content due to more efficient use of water and photosynthesis. The strategic advantage of your wheel lies in what it is capable of doing. Increasing crops’ topsoil water supply is costly and only affordable to a few farmers. Use of an imprint wheel will resolve this issue in a very short amount of time while increasing nutrient density and yield.”
In addition to its ability to solve agricultural problems, soil imprinting is being evaluated by the US Army Corps of Engineers as a solution for the problems they face in complex construction, engineering and environmental projects.
Could soil imprinting signal the beginning of the second green revolution? There is enough evidence to show that if California farmers imprinted their fields now, they would remain viable by sequestering all moisture and organic matter between now and harvest.