ABERDEEN, S.D. (AP) — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says replenishing and sustaining soil health is a priority for him.

The American News reports Perdue toured the prairie pothole landscape in northeast South Dakota on Thursday. He said using soil health as a basis for federal farm payments might be a way to encourage farmers to employ more sustainable land practices.

Perdue says improvements in genetics and technology can help farmers improve soil health, which can increase their crop yields.

Perdue also met with Natural Resources Conservation Service staff from South Dakota and North Dakota, with improving the wetland determination process a main topic. Farmers have long been critical of the process.

___

Information from: Aberdeen American News, http://www.aberdeennews.com