On Sept. 30, 2020, SHP hosted the Tennessee Soil Health Showcase – a social media takeover event highlighting research efforts and partnerships in the state. On this page, you’ll find video and other resources featured throughout the Showcase.
Tennessee is one of the newest homes for Soil Health Partnership research, possible thanks to a collaborative effort with The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Tennessee Soil Health Showcase features:
- Hunter Grills – SHP Farmer
- Zach Luttrell – Director of Agriculture: Tennessee & Kentucky, The Nature Conservancy
- Jack Cornell – SHP Field Team Director–East
Meet Hunter Grills
It is our pleasure to introduce you to one of our SHP farmers in Tennessee, Hunter Grills.
Hunter is a 9th generation farmer in Newbern, TN, where he – in partnership with his dad and two brothers – grows corn, soybeans, wheat and triticale, along with raising commercial beef cattle.
A fun fact: Hunter was named the 2020 winner of Tennessee Farm Bureau’s Outstanding Young Farmer and Rancher Achievement Award – so we’re excited to be working with such an exceptional up-and-coming agricultural leader.
Check out this video to learn a little bit more about Hunter, his farming operation, and why he partners with SHP.
About SHP’s Work in Tennessee
The Soil Health Partnership and The Nature Conservancy are pleased to announce the expansion into Tennessee through foundational support from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Through a collaborative effort to bring the SHP network to Tennessee, 16 farmers will be signed up to participate in one of two trial setups.
Using Cover Crops on the Grills Farm
What’s one of the biggest challenges facing Hunter Grills on his Tennessee farm? Erosion.
In this video, Hunter talks to Jack Cornell from SHP about how he’s leveraging cover crops to maintain soil nutrients and structure. He shares more about the cover crop mix he’s using, comparing a mix to single-species planting, and which species he likes for erosion control.
Meet Zach Luttrell
Partnering with like-minded organizations is critical to the success of SHP and the farmers we work with. We’re fortunate to have the support of numerous groups on both the state and national level – one of which is The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
In Tennessee and Kentucky, Zach Luttrell represents TNC as Director of Agriculture. He is responsible for partnering with SHP locally to conduct on-farm soil health trials, making the business case for conservation practices, and working within the supply chain to increase demand for sustainably sourced ag products.
Get to know Zach and his work further in this video and learn more about TNC at Nature.org.
Dealing with Erosion
One of the strategies Tennessee farmer Hunter Grills uses to manage erosion on their farm is planting cover crops and letting vegetation grow around ditches to keep the soil in place.
In this video, hear from Hunter about how this approach helps them hold onto soil nutrients and structure, especially following large rain events.
On-the-Ground with SHP
We are fortunate to have a top-notch group of experts working with farmers across the country as they work toward their soil health goals. One of those experts is Field Team Director–East, Jack Cornell.
In addition to supporting our Field Managers in Indiana and Illinois, Jack is the man-on-the-ground for Tennessee farmers who are interested in starting an SHP trial to evaluate and implement soil health practices.
Are your wheels turning?
Did learning more about Hunter’s work with SHP spark your interest in cover crops? If so, here are a few additional resources to help you learn more!
Curious about becoming an SHP farmer?
Explore our brochure, Farmer Partnerships for Soil Health, to learn if working with SHP would be a good fit for reaching your soil health goals.