Jodi DeJong-Hughes
Extension Educator, Water Quality
University of Minnesota Extension
West Central

Gasch, Caley*1, , DeJong-Hughes, J.2,
1 Assistant Professor of Soil Health, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND, 58105
2 Extension Educator, Crops, University of Minnesota Extension, Willmar, MN, 56201

Soil Organic Matter Does Matter is an upper Midwest resource for producers, beginning level college students, and agronomic personnel who are interested in understanding the role organic matter plays in our agricultural soils.  The goal of the publication was to be in an easy-to-read format that topics could be directly applied to the field.  The 16-page publication starts with the definition and fractions of organic matter that include the most up-to-date terminology and concepts.  It then goes on to explain the formation of the rich, organic soil layer that the upper Midwest experiences and the benefits it provides to the soil and crops.  In addition, there is an extensive section on how crop and soil management can build or destroy organic matter.  This includes multiple aspects such as, keeping the soil covered with either residue or cover crops, the detrimental cost of soil erosion, what microbial communities need to be resilient and healthy, and crop diversity.


The publication was circulated in print and created online in December 2019 on both the UMN and NDSU websites ( and  Since then, approximately 200 printed sets have been distributed and the online version has received 730 views.  Caley Gasch, the primary author, wrote approximately 70% of the publication and   Jodi DeJong-Hughes’, co-author, role was to write the portion on destroying organic matter, carbon loss, and Points to Ponder, as well as edit the publication, coordinate peer-review, add facts and figures, and design the publication.