May Newsletter

May 22, 2018


Nick Goeser, Ph.DNCGA Vice President, Production and SustainabilityAfter a slow start, this Spring is well underway across the Soil Health Partnership. All the winter preparation is paying off in completing soil sampling and planting crops in the ground. Thank you again to all the Farmers, agronomists, soil samplers and SHP staff across the network!  Your hard work has pushed through 84 percent of the soil sampling across 114 farms – simply amazing! These soil samples are adding to our growing database of almost 20,000 soil samples to give you better results year over year.  You will see updates this summer during our annual Summer Research Meeting for SHP farmers.


SHP is moving quickly to pilot a new type of expansion in 2018.  Through both Partner and Associate programs, SHP has expanded our research network in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Florida.


This has also included identifying ways to work more efficiently with collaborators through coordinated communication efforts and identifying opportunities to expand the research network through associate program.


The 2018 pilot is focused on providing farmers and advisors more choices for enrolling in the expanding network. We have enrolled 20 farms into the pilot version of the SHP Associate Program and are adding about 15-20 more this year to help us explore options for simple, easy, and low-cost tools for many more farmers to better understand soil health and economics opportunities on their farm.


The SHP team is incorporating YOUR input/feedback into a big SHP website update to be launched in mid-summer. The new website will have an enhanced design for ease of use, additional video/photo content, and farmer discussion boards for information sharing.  We are also hoping to have the grower portal connected to the SHP website this year to provide our farmers an easy location for All Things SHP.


The program staff are learning a lot in this expansion pilot, and expects to open enrollment more broadly in 2019. Keep on the lookout for more, and have a happy Spring!













Earth Day 2018: Sharing the message of soil health!


A big THANKS to all of our farmers who posted on social media channels for Earth Day 2018 and submitted letters to the editor! Not only does it deliver a positive encouragement to others about soil health practices, but by speaking out, our farmers are showing everyday consumers how they care for their land. We were especially pleased to have a couple of letters to the editor published for Earth Day as well. Check out these pieces from SHP farmers Deb Gangwish of Nebraska and Mark Mueller of Iowa (recognized as our Communicator of the Year).






Welcome aboard, Lisa & Tricia!


It’s the growing season—in our fields, and at the Soil Health Partnership! We’re excited to welcome field managers Lisa Kubik, and Tricia Verville to assist with the growing number of farmers in the program in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  Meet these talented field managers here—and watch for them at a field day near you.





SHP in the news—with a national audience!


We were glad to help National Public Radio’s Dan Charles take a trip out to rural Nebraska and meet SHP Farmer Deb Gangwish. The story, A Grassroots Movement for Healthy Soils Spreads Among Farmers, is estimated to have reached 22 million people. Great to see mainstream media covering this important topic, and all the strides agriculture is making.


"We want to always strive to be better, and I want consumers, or folks who are removed from agriculture, to understand what we are doing, and how much we care, and [that] we’re always striving to be more sustainable," Gangwish said in the story.


Check out the NPR story here.











Opening session, Soil Health Summit 2018Meet us in St. Louis for Summit 2019


Mark your calendar for the 2019 Soil Health Summit! It will take place:


January 15-16, 2019

Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch

St. Louis, Missouri


We’re in the planning stages for high energy sessions, enhanced break-outs and plenty of time for networking! Stay tuned for more details.







Illinois farmer Tom Kentner talks with farmers
during a 2017 field day
Field days are coming!


Field days for 2018 are in early planning across our 12 states. Keep an eye on our website “Events” tab to see what events might be happening near you! As always, the Soil Health Partnership will be supporting these field days with flyers, possible advertising and social media. If you are on either FaceBook or Twitter, we appreciate any additional share or retweet for events in your state.  Word-of-mouth (yes, social media counts!) is the best way to share soil health practices with other producers.






From Headquarters:

Spring Showers and Sampling Success


NPR’s Dan Charles interviews
SHP farmer Deb Gangwish


Going viral with the Soil Health Partnership


Can you imagine a video of cover crop field going viral? We can! The Soil Health Partnership is about to raise its social media profile in a big way, thanks to a grant from the Walton Family Foundation for a social media campaign promoting the use of practices that improve soil health. The campaign will implement both video and still photography, other creative content, social media ads, elevated social media posts, and other means to deliver a positive soil health practices message. A committee helped select Charleston|Orwig as the agency partner to assist with the production of the campaign. The committee includes Elyssa McFarland, SHP Key Relationships Director; Becky Frankenbach, Missouri Corn Director of Communications; Brian Corkill, an SHP farmer in Galva, Illinois; Jenna Rose, Rose Media; and Renee Hulshof, Rose Media. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting promotion!









We’re very social…

The Soil Health Partnership regularly sends out news and information about the partnership through social media. We post articles and links related to cover crops, nutrient management, tillage practices and overall soil health! It’s a great way to stay connected. If you have a great picture showing your cover crops, tillage practices, or field day, please tag the partnership!



An NCGA Initiative

Support from

Foundation for Food and Agriculture

The General Mills Foundation

Midwest Row Crop Collaborative


National Wheat Foundation

Natural Resources Conservation Service


The Walton Family Foundation


With Technical Support From

The Environmental Defense Fund

The Nature Conservancy