The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is adding 25 farms across eight Midwestern states as it continues to research management practices that improve soil health.
A farmer-led initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the partnership receives funding from Monsanto and the Walton Family Foundation, as well as technical support from the Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund.
SHP director Nick Goeser says the program has grown from 20 farms in 2014 to 65 heading into the new growing season.
Â“What this means is weÂ’re having a better geographic reach with the program to better understand all the different interactions between improvements in soil health, conservation management practices, crop yields, the economics and the environmental risk mitigation.Â”
He tells Brownfield once enrolled, field managers with the Soil Health Partnership work with farmers to determine what practices might work best on their farms.
Â“Within the program oftentimes (weÂ’re) looking at cover crops, changes in tillage or changes in nutrient management; recognizing that all three of these can impact soil health.Â But they can also impact aÂ farmerÂ’s bottom line and the crop productivity as well.Â”
The Soil Health Partnership started as a five year project, but is undergoing some strategic planning to see what it might look like after that point.
The data collected will be given to a science advisory council tasked with analysis, and Goeser says the Partnership plans on returning that information to the farming community on a recommendation level.
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