Farmers, ranchers set to gain new market opportunities

Improving Soil Health

ARDMORE, Okla. — Today, a national coalition convened by the Noble Research Institute announced its intent to create a new voluntary environmental services market that benefits agricultural producers and improves the environment for society at large.

This program aims to incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health on working agriculture lands through the development of a market-based platform. Implementing sustainable agricultural production practices and technologies can create positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. Healthy soils can sequester carbon, improve water quality, control run-off and reduce water demand, all of which create a cleaner environment. Healthy soils also improve crop yield and resilience while decreasing farmers’ and ranchers’ need for agricultural inputs.

“Farmers and ranchers are the unsung heroes of our world. Their hard work feeds and clothes us. Their dedication is the foundation for our society,” said Bill Buckner, Noble Research Institute CEO and president. “This market-based approach seeks to reward farmers and ranchers for the land stewardship they practice for the benefit of all of us. The focus will be on monetizing soil health to reward those farmers and ranchers who are actively adopting and improving practices that protect our environment. We see our work as a model from which the program can expand to capture additional environmental and ecosystem benefits for all participating agricultural producers.”

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the agriculture sector accounts for roughly a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. With the support of ecosystem services markets, however, agriculture can mitigate up to 89 percent of its emissions by incentivizing farmers and ranchers to sequester carbon in the soil.

Read the Full Article Here:

Soil Health Briefing Digs Into On-Farm Conservation

Addressing Soil Health Challenges and Opportunities

From the microorganisms down in it to the food that grows from it, farmers care deeply about the health of their soil. Cultivating and maintaining healthy soils on working lands has benefits far beyond crop production, however. The healthier the soil, the less a farmer has to use chemical inputs, which is both a cost saving for the farmer and good for the environment. Healthier soils also better retain moisture, which increases resilience to drought and means that nutrients stay in the ground and don’t leach into the water supply.

Congress is working now to develop our next farm bill, a massive package of legislation that will include policies that either help or hinder the promotion of conservation practices that build and maintain soil health. As the programs and policies of the farm bill are debated, groups like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are working to promote the benefits of conservation systems and highlight how the next farm bill can help more farmers increase their sustainability.

This week, NSAC partnered with the Soil Health Institute, General Mills, and the Land Stewardship Project (an NSAC member) to host a congressional briefing on the benefits of soil health and the critical role the farm bill plays in increasing our commitment to proven conservation practices. The briefing was hosted in conjunction with Congressman Tim Walz (D-MN), a senior member of the House Agriculture Committee who has been a long-time champion for conservation and soil health in the farm bill.

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Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, joined leaders from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, General Mills, the Land Stewardship Project, Congressional teams and farmers to discuss national soil health challenges and opportunities on farms and ranches.

Soil Health and Soil Health Institute Featured on American Farmer TV Series

American Farmer, RFD TV’s award-winning television series, featured the Soil Health Institute.

The program on soil health focused largely on SHI’s commitment to working with partners in order to enhance and disseminate knowledge and technologies directed at key soil processes to increase productivity, resilience, and environmental quality; identify research and adoption gaps; coordinate national partnerships to address those gaps; and help drive the transformational changes needed for the betterment of soil health and ultimately society.

“The success of the Institute’s programs depends on strategic partnerships with individuals and organizations that conduct or sponsor research, outreach, education, and implementation of soil health knowledge and technologies. In turn, these partnerships allow the Institute to lead, sponsor, and implement programs well beyond their individual capacity,” said Jennifer Tierney, Senior Producer for the American Farmer series.

To view the program:

About American Farmer:

American Farmer is a breakthrough program on a mission to showcase the latest advancements in agriculture and farming. From seed to harvest, livestock and more, our producers have traveled the country covering the people, places and issues impacting all areas of farm country.

American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30am ET on RFD-TV.

For more information visit

Soil Health Briefing

The Soil Health Institute, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Land Stewardship Project, and General Mills in conjunction with Representative Tim Walz (MN-1) are excited to provide a Valentine’s Day Soil Health Briefing to Congressional Staff!

Farm bill programs can help farmers build and sustain soil health by providing access to information and resources that support the adoption of effective conservation management techniques. Panelists will speak on: the research, science and economics behind soil health; on-farm conservation activities; and the importance of farm bill programs in advancing soil health efforts.


When: Wednesday, February 14, 2018
Time: 11:45 pm to 1 pm
Time: 334 Cannon House Office Building

Lunch will be provided – please RSVP
Learn about the benefits of soil health and opportunities to further advance soil health from farmers, researchers, and policy experts..



Dr. Wayne Honeycutt is the President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, where he leads the Institute’s programs to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. He previously served for 5 years as the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with USDA-NRCS in Washington, DC; for 10 years as a Research Leader and 14 years as a Research Soil Scientist with the USDA-ARS New England Plant, Soil, and Water Laboratory. Wayne’s commitment to agriculture is rooted in his experiences with raising tobacco, corn, and other crops on his family’s 120-acre farm in Metcalfe County, Kentucky.

Dr. Rob Myers is a faculty member in Plant Sciences at University of Missouri.  He oversees a number of projects related to cover crops and soil health both regionally and nationally.  He has done field research on cover crops and is a frequent speaker on topics related to cover crops and soil health. He recently served as Co-Chair of the National Working Group on Cover Crops and Soil Health.  His Ph.D. in agronomy is from University of Minnesota, and he grew up on a family farm in central Illinois.

Jimmy Kinder is a 4th generation farmer/rancher from Cotton County Oklahoma. His family farms 8,000 acres. His primary business enterprises are stocker cattle, wheat, canola, and grain sorghum. He is an early adopter of no-till production practices in southwest Oklahoma. His 20 years of success in grazing and harvesting grain has encouraged many producers to change to no-till conservation production methods. He is active in local, state and national agriculture issues. Jimmy graduated with a BS in Agronomy from Cameron University in 1980. 

Jon Jovaag grew up on a family farm in southern Minnesota and after graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1995 in Agriculture, he worked in livestock production for 15 years.  In 2011, Jon, with his wife Ruth and four children, returned to his roots on his parents’ family farm, where Jon and Ruth now farm full-time together. They have certified half their land as organic, and they farm the other half conventionally – growing corn, small grains, alfalfa and soybeans. They also raise pigs, sheep, goats and cattle. Jon prioritizes soil stewardship and conservation with an eye towards making his farm profitable for generations to come.  He has adventured into cover crops, limited till organic farming, reducing off farm inputs, and has been a leader in Land Stewardship Project’s Federal Policy Steering Committee, advocating and speaking on behalf of farm practices and public policy that supports farmers stewarding the land.

Alyssa Charney is a Senior Policy Specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) in Washington D.C. She leads the coalition’s work on farm bill conservation, working with NSAC’s member organizations to advance conservation priorities that support the sustainability of food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. She holds an M.S. in Agriculture and Food Policy and an M.P.H from Tufts University. Alyssa has previously worked on food and agriculture policy at the Center for Rural Affairs, New England Farmers Union, and the National Farm to School Network.

Erika Baum is a Government and Public Affairs Representative for General Mills in Washington, D.C. She has been with the company for nine-years, and in Washington D.C. for nearly 25 years, including eight years in the Executive Branch. General Mills serves the world by making food people love. Helping to feed people has been at the root of who we are for well over a century. Improving the lives of farmers who grow our ingredients while protecting the natural resources upon which our business and communities depend is a priority. The overarching goal is to provide a thoughtful strategy, raise awareness about the critical role that soil health plays in environmental sustainability and to encourage transformation in agricultural supply chains.

What is soil health?

Soil health is the ability of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals, and humans. The health of our soils is essential to providing clean air and water, as well as ensuring productive cropland, grazing lands, and forests. Healthy soils function to regulate water, sustain plant and animal life, filter and buffer potential pollutants, cycle nutrients, and provide physical stability and support for plant roots.

Soil Health & Agriculture: Farm Bill Opportunities

Farmers and ranchers depend on healthy soils for the productivity and success of their operations. They also drive soil health investment by adopting the practices and management strategies that support healthy soils and subsequently protect and enhance our shared natural resources.

Farm bill programs and policies are critical to supporting farmers and ranchers in expanding their soil health practices. Panelists will speak to the research and science behind soil health investment, on-farm experiences with adopting soil health practices, as well as discuss the significance of farm bill programs that support these efforts.

Scientists Unearth Hope for New Antibiotics

In a bag of backyard dirt, scientists have discovered a powerful new group of antibiotics they say can wipe out many infections in lab and animal tests, including some microbes that are resistant to most traditional antibiotics.

Researchers at Rockefeller University in New York reported the discovery of the new antibiotics, called malacidins, on Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology.

It is the latest in a series of promising antibiotics found through innovative genetic sequencing techniques that allow researchers to screen thousands of soil bacteria that previously could not be grown or studied in the laboratory. To identify the new compounds, the Rockefeller researchers sifted through genetic material culled from 1,500 soil samples.

“We extract DNA directly out of soil samples,” said biochemist Sean Brady at Rockefeller’s Laboratory for Genetically Encoded Small Molecules, a senior author on the new study. “We put it into a bug we can grow easily in the laboratory and see if it can make new molecules—the basis of new antibiotics.”

Read the Full Article Here:

Register Now

Registration is Open!

Registration for the Soil Health Institute’s 3rd Annual Meeting is now open! Please take a moment to register here.

Reservations Are Open

The Soil Health Institute’s 3rd Annual Meeting will take place August 1-3, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque. Please take a moment to reserve your room.

Any attendees who wish to use the government rate must select the option “I have an access code” and enter their government access code.

Join us in Albuquerque

Conference registration and hotel room reservations are available for the Soil Health Institute’s 3rd Annual Meeting August 1-3.


  • Corporate Sustainability and the New Carbon Currency
  • Enhancing the Research – Farmer Connection
  • Soil Health – Human Health Relations
  • Assessing and Expanding Adoption of Soil Health Systems
  • Unleashing the Phytobiome to Build Soil & Plant Health
  • Methods for Measuring Soil Health
  • Natural Language Processing & Research Landscape Tool
  • State Programs for Advancing Soil Health

A complete agenda is available here.

If you have any questions please contact us at We look forward to seeing you this Summer!

If you are attending both the Soil Water Conservation Conference July 29th – August 1st  and the Soil Health Institute Conference August 1st – 3rd you will need to book 2 separate reservations at the respective links below.

Soil Water Conservation Conference:

Soil Health Institute: