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We evaluate a new 3-D numerical modeling approach for calculating the rough-surface scattering and emission of a soil layer. The approach relies on the use of Ansoft's numerical computation software High-Frequency Structure Simulator, which solves Maxwell's equations directly using the finite-element method. The interest of this approach is that it can be easily extended to studies of heterogeneous media. However, before being applied in this way, it must first be validated for the rough-surface case. In this letter, we perform this validation by comparing the results of rough-surface scattering and emission with the results of the method of moments (MoM) for a range of different roughness and permittivity conditions and with both Gaussian and exponential rough-surface autocorrelation functions. For the scattering case, we obtain results that are in agreement with the MoM to within approximately 1-3 dB for angles up to and including 40° and 2-4 dB for angles from 50° to 70°. Agreement for emissivity is to within 3.2 and 3.6 K for low and high roughness conditions, respectively. We then illustrate the application of the new approach by calculating the emission of a two-layer system with rough surfaces, representing the soil-litter system in forests.