FAQ | SHP Associate Program

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I benefit from enrolling in the associate program?
Joining the Associate Program gives farmers a scientific platform to compare various practices and their impacts on the farm. You will have access to free soil sampling and soil sample results, as well as data insights and reports on your farm, and on the SHP network. You will also benefit from joining the soil health community and have access to several SHP resources, such as the following:

  • The SHP farmer portal for peer-to-peer sharing
  • Professional advice
  • Invitations to events, including our prestigious Soil Health Summit
  • Individualized information about your farm
  • Our broad and growing knowledge base and data insights

What does it cost?
We are currently in our pilot phase. For our pilot farms, SHP will cover the cost for 2 years of soil health samples as well as data analysis, individualized farm reports, and other benefits. This sample process is unique to SHP – we believe this is a significant benefit for farmers who cannot access such soil sampling that is currently available for commercial purposes. Inputs like cover crop seed are not covered, but SHP field managers can help identify resources and information on local cost-sharing opportunities.

Who collects the soil samples?
Samples are taken by your agronomist, if applicable, or an SHP field manager.

What are the key soil health parameters tested?
Soil Texture Class (first year only), Aggregate Stability, Active Carbon, and Water Holding Capacity.

What is the difference between an Associate Site and a full Partner Site?
SHP Partner sites are intensive replicated strip trials comparing a treatment vs. untreated.  Associate sites will be a side-by-side, or split field trials, which will allow farmers to get involved in a simplified, less-intensive trial option.

What are my obligations as grower?
You will determine which of the practices you want to measure on your farm, and split a field between two treatments. Your field manager can assist with this process. The 2019 Pilot program will enroll you for 2 years (2019-2020). Associate farmers are also encouraged to make every effort to attend Soil Health Summit. Your timely response to our field managers to assist in data collection and quality control are also required.

How does my participation improve the soil health effort?
The Associate Program will help the soil health effort and SHP by building a database of in-field information. As a large network built using on-farm data, we are learning more about soil health, what it means to economic and environmental sustainability of farmers and the creation of a consistent way to measure soil health in labs across the country.    

Why is this set up as a pilot program?
Rolling out the Associate Program slowly in a pilot allows us to get key processes in place for widescale implementation. It will help us refine our data collection process and build automation for a larger rollout in 2020.

What is the timeline of the program rollout?

2018 (Pilot year 1) – 25 farmers enrolled (Completed)

2019 (Pilot year 2) – 75 additional farmers enrolled (total 100 in SHP network)

2020 – Full-scale program enrollment


How do I enroll?
To find out more and join the list of farmers interested in enrolling as an associate site, provide your information to us here.  

We will contact you with more details.