Farmers Committed to Soil Health
Stand Tall on Earth Day
Visit Jason and Misty Lay's corn and soybean farm outside Bloomington, Ill., and it just may look like Earth Day all year long. They're among a growing number of farmers adopting modern sustainable ag practices, including cover crops, reduced tillage, waterways and terraces. The techniques help restore soil health, one of our nation's best opportunities to sequester carbon and improve water quality, while protecting against the threats of climate change.
“I think it’s possible to marry the two ideas of soil conservation and crop production, and the Soil Health Partnership is the perfect group to do this.”
“We had been using cover crops and no-till/strip-till for some time but were looking to take things to the next level. We became involved in the SHP in 2015.”
Mark Mueller represents the 4th generation to raise a family and crops on this land.
“... I gained knowledge on nutrient availability, the soil’s microbiome and improving tilth, organic matter and reducing nutrients leaving the field.”
Brent Bible has practiced no-till farming and the use of cover crops for several years on some of his nearly 3,000 acre farm. But it has been a scattershot approach without measurable results.
“We are more precise about fertilizer placement, timing and quantity,” Bible says.
Tim Smith thought he was doing everything right. But conservation programs, like the Soil Health Partnership, opened his eyes to new methods of mitigating erosion and managing nutrients. This includes use of cover crops, including cereal rye and oats.
“Farming is always evolving,” Smith says.
David Brown and his son Chase want to see the evidence for themselves: Are cover crops really going to deliver on the promise of increased yields and improved soils health? By joining the Soil Health Partnership, they believe the answer is yes—and have put their own fields to the test.
Dave Moose can already see the benefits of no-till and cover crops on his Illinois farm—more worms, more organic matter and better soil retention. But he wants to see quantifiable research that will clearly spell out the pros and cons for every farmer interested in pursuing these practices.
Tim Seifert believes it’s up to him to be a good steward of the soil, even if it means adopting practices that add more work to an already tough job. To make sure his farm will make it to the 4th generation, Tim is willing to do what it takes . .
SOIL HEALTH PARTNERSHIP | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2017
We are identifying, testing and measuring management practices to improve soil health and benefit farmers’ operations. Many farmers across the country are implementing innovative management practices that result in economic and environmental benefits. We are building upon the work of these farmers to provide connections between on-farm practices and improving soil health.
We believe the results of this farmer-led project will provide a platform for sharing information from farmers to farmers, with the support and resources to benefit farmers’ bottom lines and agricultural sustainability. We are helping provide the spark for greater understanding and more broadly implementing agricultural practices that work best.
An NCGA Initiative
Natural Resources Conservation Service
The Walton Family Foundation
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative
The General Mills Foundation
With Technical Support From
The Environmental Defense Fund
The Nature Conservancy