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When it comes to making a management change in the operation, growers can become very hesitant. The way they have been accustomed to farming has become routine and comfortable. It’s also been sustainable, generating income for themselves and their families. Growers fear that sometimes making drastic changes in ways they farm can affect their bottom line and their families’ livelihood.

That’s where the Soil Health Partnership steps in and tries to help. With our boots on the ground approach, we are constantly working with growers throughout the corn belt to help them implement new management changes on their operation. One of our main focuses is cover crops. The push for implementing cover crops has grown substantially over the last five years, and SHP has been there along the way. We have nine field managers currently working with our 200+ farms.

The role of field managers is to help mitigate risk with growers who are implementing cover crops or conservation practices. We work with you individually: sitting down, selecting the field, and the trial type for your operation.

Want to try a strip trial? Want to do a split field application?

We will make it happen, setting your trial up in the best way possible for your operation. Since the field team is working with a group of farmers, they know some of the issues to expect while applying cover crops. We will be there every step of the way, helping you succeed. As a grower within our program, you will not only receive advice but also hard data in return.

This data starts with soil testing. Field managers help SHP farmers pull both soil health tests and nutrient analysis tests of both the cover crop and non cover crop parts of your trial. As the growing season progresses, we do field checks, keeping track of any visual differences for your year-end report.

After harvest, field managers gather, clean, and analyze your yield data. We compare it back to management changes, tying it to the soil health data. This highlights whether the application of cover crops is profitable both by soil health factors and yield.  This helps you decide if applying cover crops should be done on more of your acres for the next growing season.

As you can see, learning to apply cover crops on your farm in an SHP trial has its perks. We work with every grower individually, helping create a plan of attack and mitigating risk.  We pull samples and highlight the year over year differences between the treatments. We report back to you the changes and what is making the most money for you on your operation.

SHP holds regional meetings with SHP growers in the region annually to discuss discoveries along the growing season, allowing networking opportunities at no cost to the farmer. We try to reduce the risk, the stress, and the pain of choosing to add cover crops to your operation.

SHP has various online resources available including a Resource Library with various management practices, weekly blog, bi-weekly podcast, monthly newsletter and bi-monthly webinars.

Connect with us on social media: FacebookTwitterInstagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and The People of Soil Health Podcast.

Alex Fiock
Alex Fiock
Alex Fiock is a Field Manager for Soil Health Partnership covering northern Indiana and Ohio. He also oversees farm economics work for SHP.