Soil Building on the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons

Soil Building on the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons


Cows grazing on a pasture where the soils are scientifically rated as “soil of local importance”.

The 63 acres of land presents a handful of challenges to overcome, when Steve Normanton began farming the land in 2009. Previous intensive farming and soil compaction had left the soil degraded, and flooding on the banks of the Merrimack River contributed to soil runoff and erosion. Even worse, climate change has presented longer dry periods with heavy rainfalls that simply runs off dry and compacted soils.

To combat these realities, Normanton Farms introduced a variety of adaptive land management practices to build the soil such as natural riparian buffers, rotational grazing, and native grasses suitable for a changing climate. Over the past 10 years, these efforts have led to an additional 6 inches of A-horizon soil regeneration for:

  • Increased concentration of soil nutrients and soil organic matter
  • Greater carbon sequestration
  • Higher levels of soil moisture retention for resiliency during drought years
Normanton Farm soils map showing gold area as prime farmland soil and tan area as soil of local importance.

Financial Details

Property Transfer & Closing Costs: $12,000  

Property Endowment & Reserves: $20,000  

Soil Building and Habitat Investment: $15,000

$47,000 total project costs (full financial summary)

$ Raised of $ Total Goal

Give to the Soil Building on the New Hampshire Agrarian Commons Campaign