A project to make agriculture more productive and sustainable Through improved soil health
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About Us

The Soil Health Partnership is a new initiative undertaken by the National Corn Growers Association with support from partners in agriculture and conservation and leading scientific experts. In a nutshell, we want to help growers unlock the potential that’s right under their feet.

Ask anyone in agriculture and they’ll tell you: healthy soils sustain higher yields. Just as important, if less apparent, is the crucial role soil health can play in protecting water quality and other aspects of good environmental stewardship. However, while our industry has seen massive leaps in innovation in seed technology, equipment design and precision planting strategies, we haven’t seen a concentrated effort to understand and measure the beneficial effects of innovative soil management strategies. Until now.

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5 Year Initiative

Over the next five years, we plan to identify, test and measure management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers’ operations. Right now, the connections between on-farm practices and soil health are not well understood. However, hundreds of farmers across the country are implementing innovative management practices that are resulting in economic and environmental benefits. We believe the results of our study will provide a platform for knowledge sharing from farmer to farmer as well as support management changes that benefit farmers’ bottom lines and the sustainability of the system. We want to become a catalyst for analyzing and more broadly implementing the practices that work best.

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Our Goals

Our ultimate goals are to MEASURE AND COMMUNICATE THE ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS of different soil management strategies and provide a set of regionally specific, data-driven recommendations that farmers can use to improve the productivity and sustainability of their farms. To that end, we plan to do the following:

1 Recruit
1 Recruit
Recruit a network of demonstration farms
that will serve as showcases for other farmers to investigate innovative soil management practices, including reduced tillage systems, cover crops and advanced nutrient management.
2 Establish
2 Establish
Establish research protocols
that will allow us to measure the connection between a diverse range of soil management practices and soil health.
3 Publish
3 Publish
Publish findings and recommendations
that highlight the economic and environmental benefits of healthy soil.
4 Support
4 Support
Support networking and technical assistance
that will help growers and their advisors make decisions that will result in positive changes for the profitability of their operation and the sustainability of the soil.
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How to get involved

If you are currently USING INNOVATIVE SOIL MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES and are interested in learning how to become one of our demonstration farms, please email soilhealth@ncga.com.

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Who’s Involved
Initial Support From
Monsanto and The Walton Family Foundation
With Technical Advice From

Suzy Friedman, Environmental Defense Fund  | Daren Harmel, Ph.D., USDA-ARS
Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D., USDA-ARS | Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., NRCS
Doug Karlen, Ph.D., USDA-ARS-MWA | Eileen Kladivko, Ph.D., Purdue University
Sean McMahon, The Nature Conservancy | Mike Plumer, Ph.D., Agricultural Consultant
Charles Rice, Ph.D., Kansas State University | Peter Scharf, Ph.D., University of Missouri
Harold Van Es, Ph.D., Cornell University

Suzy Friedman,
Environmental Defense Fund

Daren Harmel, Ph.D.,
USDA-ARS

Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D.,
USDA-ARS

Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., NRCS

Doug Karlen, Ph.D.,
USDA-ARS-MWA

Eileen Kladivko, Ph.D.,
Purdue University

Sean McMahon,
The Nature Conservancy

Mike Plumer, Ph.D.,
Agricultural Consultant

Charles Rice, Ph.D.,
Kansas State University

Peter Scharf, Ph.D.,
University of Missouri

Harold Van Es, Ph.D.,
Cornell University

We expect to add
additional Supporters
who are excited to participate
in our important work.

We expect to add additional Supporters
who are excited to participate in our important work.