Sequestering carbon and nitrogen in soil has become a major goal for agriculture, because that sequestration reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
A team of USDA scientists has given growers guidance on how to restore degraded soils and make the land productive.
Researchers found that if cattle are managed so that they graze moderately, soil quality can be restored and emissions of carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) can be reduced.
The research was published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal.
Cotton, soybean, sorghum and wheat are widely grown in the Piedmont, an area that stretches from Alabama to Virginia. But decades of plowing have degraded the soil and growers have slowly allowed much of the land to revert to forests and pastures.