December 14, 2017
Nick Goeser, Ph.DDirector, SHPAs we close another exciting year within the Soil Health Partnership, I know we are all thinking about what comes ahead in 2018. Should I go after that piece of ground? Do I need to change up my herbicide program for those trouble weeds? Should I push forward to sell more of my grain – or do I hold some back? Should I try strip-till this year, and can I make it cash-flow?
We hope that SHP can add some helpful information about the links between investment decisions, crop management, inputs and yields. We have some interesting early looks at data from across our farmers’ SHP network. This network is focused on delivering real-world results from real, working farms—many of which are pretty new to cover crops or no-till/strip till.
Our SHP farmers have helped us to build a database of more than 1,200 soil health samples, over 17,000 routine analysis samples, thousands of yield data points – and now economic performance trends across our 100+ fields. These data are helping us assess soil health across our network and bring practical recommendations for yield resilience, economic stability and environmental enhancement.
What does aggregate stability contribute to my yield? Or water holding capacity?
Do I have to wait three years to get a benefit from a cover crop in my soil?
We can help answer these questions.
Our SHP team is gearing up and taking action to get this information out, and it will be a primary focus of the Soil Health Summit in January. Together, we are giving presentations, posting learnings online and talking through options with farmers/agronomists in person.
Watch soilhealthpartnership.org, Twitter (@SoilPartners) and Facebook for postings about SHP events and links to new research reports coming in January. We can then work together to help put together the best plans for the 2018 growing season.
I know markets and weather have not made this year easy – but we still have a lot to be thankful and exited for as we move into 2018. Let’s learn together to make 2018 a great year!
From the Director:
Visions of Data Charts Dance in Our Heads
A new grant will support research and education that accelerate adoption of soil health practices on farms nationwide, benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment alike. The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established through bipartisan support in the 2014 Farm Bill, announced a $9.4 million grant on Dec. 5 – World Soil Day. The recipients are the Soil Health Partnership, the Soil Health Institute and The Nature Conservancy. It will be matched by other organizations for a total investment of nearly $20 million.
Grant Kimberley, courtesy of the Iowa Soybean Association
World Soil Day Brightened with Announcement of $20 Million Investment in Soil Health
SHP Farmer Op Ed: Up to Us to Be Stewards of Iowa’s Topsoil
Grant Kimberley, one of our newest SHP farmers, shared his story this month in a World Soil Day opinion editorial published in the Des Moines Register. Six generations strong, the Kimberley family wants the legacy to continue—and is committed to improving soil health to make that happen.
Read the Op Ed
Register by Dec . 20 for Soil Health Summit
As Santa warms up the sleigh, preparing to deliver presents throughout the world, we’re also getting ready to deliver. You told us what you wanted in an annual summit—and it’s almost here! Our Soil Health Summit takes place this year Jan. 18 – 19 at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel. We’ve created great content to help our farmers and collaborators learn, connect and grow. Register by Dec. 20.
SHP Welcomes Two New Field Managers!
Abigail PetersonAlex FiockThe Soil Health Partnership is pleased to announce the addition of two field managers to the staff to help the growing number of farmers in the program. Alex Fiock will cover Northern Indiana, and Abigail Peterson will cover Southern Illinois. They join current field managers Hans Kok and Jim Isermann in those states.
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!
Dan Roehrborn, Sheboygan Falls, WisconsinSHP encourages farmers to keep the stubble!
During November, The Soil Health Partnership joined in on some fall fashion advice for farmers: keep the stubble this fall. Stubble in the field looks great—plus it’s good for erosion control and overall soil health. During a month-long campaign called “No-Till November,” the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service —a supporter of the Soil Health Partnership—encouraged farmers to “keep the stubble” on their harvested crop fields.
More than half of the farms enrolled in the SHP practice some sort of no-till, including Dan Roehrborn, who farms in Sheboygan Falls, Wisc. He says he’s been practicing no-till on bean acres for about 10 years.
General Mills Invests in Soil Health, Expanding Program to Wheat Farmers
General Mills continues to invest in soil health practices on U.S. agricultural farmland with its latest contribution of $735,000 to the National Wheat Foundation. The foundation, along with the Soil Health Partnership, will advance widespread adoption and implementation of these practices among wheat growers.
An NCGA Initiative
Natural Resources Conservation Service
United Soybean Board
The Walton Family Foundation
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative
With Technical Support From
The Environmental Defense Fund
The Nature Conservancy
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