March Newsletter

March 15, 2017


Nick Goeser, Ph.DDirector, SHPWow!  Another fantastic Commodity Classic…and I am still riding high after a great Soil Health Summit! Over 260 attended the Summit to learn, network and have some fun together in Chicago.  I greatly appreciated the time and energy everyone put into making the event a success, starting with our farmers!


As we heard at the Summit, many transitions will take place in 2018. There's one more transition I want to make sure you are aware of. I recently accepted the role of Vice President of Production & Sustainability with National Corn Growers Association. The decision to accept this position was exceptionally difficult - the most difficult of my professional career. I ultimately accepted this position due to reasons of personal and professional impact.


However, I would never abandon the Soil Health Partnership, a project I have poured my heart and soul into for the last four years. I will still be working closely with the project from the SHP Steering Committee, of which I will now be a member, and I will remain engaged with the Science Advisory Council. My hope is that this change will bring additional opportunity and support to SHP - with direct improvements for each of you across the program.


Working to build SHP has been - and will continue to be - the best experience of my professional career. Your dedication and drive to make this program successful continues to be greatly appreciated. This program will continue to grow to scale impactful change across agricultural and non-agricultural communities- and you are directly attributable for the success.


We have great staff in place to keep SHP moving as we develop a hiring committee to search for a new director. The search process has already begun.


I understand questions will come with this transition - and I will not be going far. I will still be involved on a week-to-week basis through the NCGA, the SHP Steering Committee and the SHP Science Advisory Council.


Thank you for your continued support during this transition












From the Director:

A season of change


SHP farmer Kevin Ross gets an assist from communications manager Jenna Rose while viewing the new SHP virtual reality video.


SHP Virtual Reality Video Tells Soil Health Story from 'Every Angle'


As interest grows in soil health and its potential to optimize farming, the Soil Health Partnership has developed a new tool to immerse the inquisitive. Partnering with StoryUP, we have produced a "virtual reality" video that will allow viewers to visit a farm enrolled in SHP and experience a Virtual Field Day.


Virtual reality is 360-degree, 3D video or computer-generated environments viewed with special goggles where the user can see in all directions. The SHP officially launched the video, called "New Frontier in Agriculture," at the Commodity Classic conference and trade show, Feb. 27 - March 1 in Anaheim, Calif.

[[Read more]]


"One of our most powerful assets is our enrolled farmers sharing their stories and knowledge with others," said Nick Goeser, Vice President, Production and Sustainability, NCGA. "This video format allows viewers to transport themselves to a farm and learn from the farmer as if they are standing right there with him at a field day."


The 4-minute experience, viewed in a Samsung GearVR headset, places the user in close proximity to farmers and SHP staff on Tim Smith's farm in Eagle Grove, Iowa.


To watch it in your own headset:

  • Download the YouTube app for iPhone or Android
  • Play the video (on the SHP YouTube Channel)
  • Turn phone horizontal
  • Click the Google Cardboard icon on the lower right side of the screen
  • Phone will split into two screens
  • Place horizontal phone in a VR headset


For regular viewing, the video is available on the SHP YouTube Channel, where it is best viewed in the Google Chrome browser, which provides arrows allowing the user to turn the viewpoint.



Protecting Your Personal Farming Data


The Soil Health Partnership is heavily concentrated on data collection from our enrolled farmers. We are now beginning to analyze the early dataset collected over last three-and-a-half years. The farmer data we collect in the program is closely guarded and used only in the individual farmer's best interest. SHP data results are not released to anyone - not even the founding partners in the program - without each farmer's written consent.


If you have questions about how the SHP handles your data, please contact
Jack Cornell.

SHP farmer Bryan Biegler, Lake Wilson, Minn.
Photo courtesy of Minnesota Corn Growers Association


2018 Soil Health Summit a Sound Success


Making soil health research relevant to operational success was one of the key messages delivered at the 4th annual Soil Health Partnership Summit held in Rosemont, Illinois Jan. 18-19. We were excited to host nearly 300 farmers, scientists, agronomists, industry leaders, environmentalists and water quality experts at our annual meeting. Key among our discussions was how to take scientific research and turn it into real-world management strategies for today's working farms.


To see more photos, read the summit blog and listen to audio interviews, visit the summit website!



Dr. Robert Graney, head of Regulatory Science for Bayer, was one of the featured speakers at the opening session.

From left: Andrew Reuschel, Mark Mueller, Tom Vaske, Jack Hardwick


First Annual Soil Health Summit Awards Honor Best in Soil Health !


Innovators. Educators. Communicators. Those are just some of the words used to describe the four recipients of the newly inaugurated "Seeds of Change Awards" at the 2018 Soil Health Partnership Summit, Jan. 18-19 in Chicago. These awards were developed to highlight those members of the Soil Health Partnership who go above and beyond to advocate for the partnership and for soil health throughout the year.


Read more


NCGA Encourages Participation in Updated Pollinator Initiative


Farmers and Midwest landowners who want to help honey bees and Monarch butterflies have a unique opportunity to do this in a strategic fashion through The Bee & Butterfly Habitat Fund's SEED A LEGACY Pollinator Habitat Program, which is being supported by the National Corn Growers Association.


The updated program, expanded in 2018 to include 11 states, seeks partnerships between landowners and beekeepers to provide cost-effective, high-quality pollinator habitat to ensure honey bee and Monarch butterfly populations thrive.


Applications for each state are being accepted online at through March 31, 2018 for spring planting. A second application period will open later in 2018 for projects to be planted in the fall.


Native pollinators, honey bees and Monarch butterflies have experienced population declines over the last two decades. The Habitat Fund offers a way for farmers to incorporate the latest innovation and technology into their stewardship efforts and do so in a way that is cost effective, establishes quickly, provides greater pollinator value and addresses weed competition.


Enrollment is open to public, private and corporate landowners in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. These states were selected based on their critical role to address National Pollinator Partnership Action Plan goals.


Submitted applications will be ranked to ensure projects maximize benefits for both pollinators and landowners. Successful applicants will receive free or highly discounted pollinator seed mixtures proven to provide pollinator value for Monarch butterflies, honey bees and native pollinators. All projects must meet program guidelines and complete the appropriate state application online at




SHP – On the Road Again!


Since the Soil Health Summit, the SHP staff has been busy taking soil health education to farmers, scientists and other key groups. Collectively the staff have represented SHP at more than 20 events with speaking engagements, staffing booths, and leading workshops, including one for the Kentucky Corn Growers. Other events include the Agroforestry Symposium at the University of Missouri, the Bayer Ag-vocacy Forum, the Ag Biotech Summit at North Carolina State University, and a couple of field days. At Commodity Classic, SHP had an expanded presence with an extra-large booth, a virtual reality video, and many enrolled farmers on hand to tell their stories to the more than 8,000 attendees. Thank you to those who stopped by to show their support and join the conversation…it truly made an impact!





Nick Goeser speaks at the University of Missouri – Columbia

SHP Selfie Winner Bret Pierce (#3 above)


SHP farmer Bret Pierce, Iowa, won an SHP selfie contest. When he accepted his prize, he showcased his mad selfie skills by taking one with SHP Director Nick Goeser from the Soil Health Summit stage. We love ANY of your photos –– selfies from the field, or cover crops, planting, etc. Be sure to tag @soilpartners on Twitter or Soil Health Partnership on Facebook.





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!



An NCGA Initiative

Support from


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