Have a soil health question? Start here!

It’s only normal that questions about soil health will pop up from time-to-time. Questions like:

Well, lucky for you, we’re here to help you find answers!

The SHP website recently got a facelift, including a refreshed version of our Library of Resources. The updated library includes a searchable database, where you can search SHP’s soil health resources based on:

  • Key terms
  • A specific region of the country
  • Communication type (e.g., blog, podcast)
  • Topic area
  • Date the resource was published, or
  • Featured people

With this new and improved Library of Resources, we aim to make finding answers to your soil health questions even easier. Check it out here >>

Then, once you’re done exploring the Library of Resources, make sure to take a tour around the other areas of our website. We’ve made several updates, so don’t miss out on meeting the SHP team, learning about our SHP Partner Farmers, or exploring our wide variety of informational resources!  

New Faces, New Experiences: SHP Welcomes New Intern

This summer, the Soil Health Partnership welcomes Krystin Oborny to the staff as an intern. Throughout the summer, Krystin will be assisting with various SHP projects.

Krystin will be a senior this fall at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she is studying Agriculture Education with a minor in Agricultural Economics. Next spring, Krystin will be a student teaching in Humphrey, Nebraska to pursue her end goal of becoming an FFA advisor. Originally from Garland, Nebraska, she grew up raising registered black angus cattle, corn and soybeans.

Over the course of her internship, Krystin will be working on a variety of projects, including helping out in the Nebraska, Kansas and South Dakota territories alongside Keith Byerly, Field Manager for Kansas and Nebraska. Additionally, she will be connecting with other National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) teams to learn about the many ways NCGA is helping and promoting the work that farmers are doing.

“We are excited to be able to partner with Nebraska Corn to provide Krystin with a broad spectrum of experiences while she’s working with the SHP program that will hopefully benefit her for years to come,” said Anne Dietz, SHP Director of Operations.

Over the past three summers, Krystin has worked with Pioneer managing a detasseling team as a field assistant. She is excited to join the SHP team in the St. Louis office to gain more experience with marketing and business. She is working this summer to develop her skills in communicating the right messages and help others to perceive agriculture in a positive light.

“I am excited to learn more about soil health,” Krystin said. “I took a soils class in college and found it interesting, so I’m excited to learn more about how important soil is.”

The SHP team is excited to welcome Krystin to the staff for the summer!

SHP Launches The People of Soil Health Podcast

The Soil Health Partnership is pleased to announce the launch of The People of Soil Health Podcast on April 7. The People of Soil Health Podcast will provide a direct connection into the network of soil health professionals who are focused on the on-farm economic and environmental benefits of soil health.

SHP Senior Director John Mesko will serve as the host and will interview the best in the agricultural and environmental industries to discuss soil health practices and management systems, issues facing farmers, and insights from soil data sets.

The podcast will discuss the following questions and many more:

  • What is soil health?
  • What are the benefits of cover crops and conservation tillage?
  • How can my farm be more sustainable?
  • Why is healthy soil important?
  • What’s the best way to increase organic matter in a corn field?

Tune in to listen to experts answer these questions, share their experiences, and more!

During the first episode of The People of Soil Health, Senior Director John Mesko will be visiting with SHP Lead Scientist Dr. Maria Bowman to review SHP’s first business case about an Indiana farmer and the economic benefits of his wheat cover crop management practices. As the science of soil health continues to evolve, Maria has become a recognized leader in collecting and analyzing on-farm data to help farmers improve their decision making.

“At our core, SHP believes in the power of partnerships. The people collaborating to advance the complex issues of soil health are remarkable, and I can’t wait to bring you into these conversations,” commented John.

A new episode will drop every other Tuesday. Subscribe to our podcast to be the first to know about new episodes!

SHP Adds Dr. Roever as Data Manager

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is pleased to introduce Dr. Carrie Roever as the new Data Manager.

Dr. Roever’s primary responsibility will be to assist in organizing and finding efficiencies in the SHP data. “I enjoy assembling the puzzle that is involved with figuring out data and looking for efficiencies. I’m eager to dig into SHP’s data and make sense of how it all fits together,” she commented.

Dr. Roever completed her bachelor’s degree at Indiana State University, her master’s degree at University of Alberta and her doctorate at University of Pretoria. Her degrees are in wildlife biology, looking at habitat selection.

After her doctorate, Dr. Roever went to Oregon State University where she studied cattle movement across the landscape during drought. Dr. Roever then accepted a Data Manager position at the University of Idaho through a grant with EPSCoR, where she helped to train and educate researchers on how to manage data and ensure compliance with state and federal laws.

“We are eager to have Dr. Roever join our staff and help us better organize our rich dataset. She will be working closely with our team as we work to improve how we collect, manage, and integrate data to serve SHP farmers and advance our research goals,” said SHP Lead Scientist Dr. Maria Bowman.

Welcome to 2020 – SHP’s Next Phase

SHP Senior Director, John Mesko, discusses SHP’s plan for 2020 and beyond. John discusses the impact of building soil health as a primary emphasis in agriculture and the need for a focus on farming resiliency. He highlights what SHP has learned in order to advance SHP work into the future, discusses SHP’s role in addressing soil health changes and their impact on farms, and the role SHP plays in the soil health community.

Soil Sessions is a webinar series by the Soil Health Partnership that provides monthly, in-depth updates on various SHP programs and research findings. Soil Sessions covers a range of topics such as our evolving data insights, how SHP manages and integrates data, our connection to and work with our partners, as well as providing technical information on topics like cover crops, scouting and grazing. To view all SHP webinars, visit our website here.

SHP Hosts Educational Sessions at Upcoming Commodity Classic

Commodity Classic brings together farmers from across the country to network and learn from their peers. Hosted by farmers, for farmers, it is hailed as the largest farmer-led, farmer-focused agricultural and educational event in the country.

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is attending Commodity Classic and is hosting a series of educational sessions throughout the three-day gathering. SHP is hosting two Soil Sessions LIVE events at the trade show booth. These 10-minute conversations take place on Thursday and Friday in booth #1945.

Take a look at the list of SHP events below and visit our Facebook page to stay updated on these events.

Thursday, February 27

  • 8:15 – 9:45 a.m – What’s New? Session: Carbon Insetting Framework Providing Opportunities to Growers, What’s New Session Meeting Room*
  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – Soil Sessions LIVE: Media Preview, Booth #1945 
  • 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m – What’s New? Session: Carbon Insetting Framework Providing Opportunities to Growers, Main Stage of Trade Show*
  • 1:00 p.m. – Soil Sessions LIVE: Field Manager Maddy Rabenhorst will discuss transitioning to no-till, Booth #1945

*About this What’s New? session: During this session we will discuss what carbon insetting is, how it helps growers and how the model fits into the broader landscape of carbon markets. SHP, along with various partners, received a Conservation Innovation Grant in 2016 through the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.  The purpose of the grant was to create a carbon accounting and insetting framework that would enable companies along the supply chain to encourage their farmer growers to adopt conservation practices such as planting cover crops and reducing tillage in order to sequester carbon in the soil. As we wrap up the grant, the framework is ready for other companies to apply in order to achieve on-farm emissions reductions. The framework employs a low-cost, low-touch verification model tool and models soil organic carbon reductions to scale the benefits across supply chains.

Friday, February 28

  • 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m – Seeds of Change Award Winner Presentation, Booth #1945
  • 11:00 a.m. – Soil Sessions LIVE: Field Manager Lisa Kubik will discuss cover crops, Booth #1945
  • 1:00 p.m. – Soil Sessions LIVE: Meet SHP Lead Scientist Dr. Maria Bowman, Booth #1945
  • 2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m. – Learning Session: Assessing & Expanding Soil Health for Production, Economic and Environmental Benefits: The FFAR Soil Health Collaboration, Room 302*

*About this Learning Session: SHP, Soil Health Institute and The Nature Conservancy will share how we are working together to apply soil health research in a practical way for farmers and landowners. Growers will leave the session with a broader knowledge of the items they should be testing for to measure soil health on their farm and be able to compare it with data published by other organizations including Soil Health Institute and SHP. They will also learn tips and tactics on how to discuss soil health practices with their landowners in order to help their landowners understand the benefits of implementing these practices and incentivize further adoption on their farms.

We hope you will join us!

Dustin Brucker Joins SHP as Western Iowa Field Manager

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is pleased to announce Dustin Brucker as the new Field Manager for western Iowa, joining the team of nine SHP Field Managers.

Dustin grew up on his family’s corn and soybean farm in Illinois. He earned his undergraduate degree in Agriculture Business and his master’s degree in Seed Technology and Business from Iowa State University.

After graduation, he accepted a position with Monsanto in their Maui, Hawaii corn trait integration facility. Upon returning to Iowa, Dustin worked in corn yield trial testing and eventually landed in logistics where he was responsible for the data collection, management, and quality assurance of the corn trials.

“I have grown up around agriculture and have spent my career in agriculture. I look forward to working with growers to maximize their soil potential and establish great quality soil for years to come. I’m eager to get started and begin problem solving with the team,” said Brucker.

“Dustin brings a breadth of industry knowledge, and we are eager to add him to our Field Team. His expertise in data management and ensuring adequate communication is vital to the sampling we do. Our Iowa farmers are going to benefit greatly by having Dustin as an extension of their operation,” commented Jack Cornell, SHP Field Team Director.

Jacob Ness is transitioning to the role of Geospatial Data Analyst to provide additional support for data processing, cleaning, analysis, and management to follow his passion for data.

Elyssa McFarland Named SHP Development Manager

The Soil Health Partnership is excited to welcome Elyssa McFarland as our Development Manager.

As Development Manager, Elyssa will build and maintain SHP’s broad spectrum of partnerships, expanding the resource base for the important work of building soil health and creating a sustainable future for farming and food. She joins a strong national team that is focused on identifying and sharing the economic and environmental benefits of varied soil management strategies and providing a set of regionally specific, data‑driven recommendations that farmers can use to improve the productivity and sustainability of their farms.

Elyssa is no stranger to the SHP family. She previously served as a Field Manager for Iowa and Missouri and assisted with SHP development work before returning to her family’s farm in Iowa.

“We are eager to have Elyssa’s support in building partnerships and nurturing relationships at SHP. She brings a breadth of soil health knowledge understands our mission very well,” said John Mesko, SHP Senior Director.

Elyssa McFarland was raised on a grain and livestock farm east of Columbus Junction, Iowa. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy from Iowa State University and dual Master’s degrees in Agronomy and Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Elyssa resides in southeast Iowa.