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Coverage from the Soil Health Summit, Jan. 21-22, 2016
As the Soil Health Partnership embarks on its third year, the organization has high hopes for network expansion and ground-breaking soil data results that will contribute to a sea change in farming.
The partnership held its third annual Soil Health Summit in Indianapolis Jan. 21-22, hosting more than 140 attendees, including farmers, agriculture industry leaders, environmental groups and university representatives.
“It’s very striking to me that the agricultural community is awakening to the positive impact soil health can have on the environment, crop yields and farm economics,” said Nick Goeser, SHP director. “Our annual Soil Health Summit brings progressive leaders together to learn about the research, innovations and technology taking place in the realm of soil health.”
Demonstration farmers in the program collect data with the help of field managers and their agronomists in practices like cover crops, nutrient management and conservation tillage.
Listen to farmers discuss changes in their practices:
Partners from Monsanto, The Nature Conservancy and Environmental Defense Fund make this effort possible.
“Economics are key to changing practices on the farm – we’ve heard that again and again,” Goeser said at the summit. “Although early in our data collection process, we’re in this for the long haul. We continue to improve data collection and our analytics process. We are also working on how we will put that research in your hands. Our research means nothing if it isn’t published to be used by our farmers and beyond.”
A small expo rounds out the summit
The first day of the summit featured presentations on cover crop economics, precision land management, and panel discussions from farmers and industry collaborators. On the second day, participants shared thoughts on the data collection, further collaboration opportunities and communication within the partnership and with those interested in the results.
“These farmers are pioneers and innovators,” said Chris Novak, NCGA CEO, during the summit’s closing address. “They are taking risks to build data that prove soil health improvements mean economic benefits from better yields, and environmental risk mitigation. We thank them for their leadership.”