Highlights from Soil Health Institute’s Annual Meeting, A Farmer’s Perspective

After a day of talk about soil health — the science, metrics, economics, policy and possible markets — an Alabama commodity farmer got to share some thoughts that reflect the business challenge for the average grain, oilseed or fiber producer.

V. Larkin Martin has served on boards of multiple farm and business organizations — including the Soil Health Institute, Farm Foundation and the Cotton Board and is a former chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. She manages her family’s seventh-generation, 7,000-acre farm of both owned and rented land in Alabama.

Martin explained that soil health was vital to her farm because of the dry conditions in the South, as well as farming on a high percentage of highly erodible land. Soil health is an imperative, yet most of her landlords might be just mildly interested in the topic. The buyers of the corn, soybeans, wheat, peanuts and cotton raised on the farm, not so much, she said.

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