Category Archives: News

Living Soil Film Documents Soil Health Movement

Lesson Plans Extend Soil Health Message to High Schools, Colleges-

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Dec. 5, 2018 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has released high school and college lesson plans designed to be used with Living Soil, a 60-minute documentary that captures the history – and significance – of the soil health movement.

The documentary features diverse scenes of food production from the Dust Bowl to today. Urban and rural farmers from different areas of the United States talk about strategies they use to improve soil health and the impact on food stability, environmental sustainability, and human nutrition. The film also includes soil health researchers and other soil health experts commenting about new trends and developments with soil health.

The primary learning goal is to help high school and college students develop an understanding of why soil health is important and identify ways that professionals in production agriculture work to improve the health of our nation’s soils, ultimately benefiting all members of society. The lesson plans are appropriate for classes in agriculture, natural resources, environment, ecology, biology or human nutrition and food systems.

The film package is available to stream/download at


Living Soil was directed by Chelsea Myers and Tiny Attic Productions based in Columbia, Missouri, and produced by the Soil Health Institute through the generous support of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

A special thanks to Dawn Bentley, Brian Berns, Keith Berns, Bill Buckner, Mimo Davis, Dan DeSutter, Miranda Duschak, James “Ooker” Eskridge, Barry Fisher, Liz Graznak, Steve Groff, Jerry Hatfield, Trey Hill, Larkin Martin, Bianca Moebius-Clune, Jesse Sanchez, Larry Thompson, John Wiebold, Kristen Veum, Kevin Mathein, Ben Harris, Tim Pilcher, Josh Wright, Haley Myers, Rob Myers and Josh Oxenhandler.

Living Soil Film Released!

Living Soil Film Documents Soil Health Movement-

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Nov. 15 /CSRwire/ – The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released a 60-minute documentary that captures the history – and significance – of the soil health movement.

“Never have I seen, among farmers, such a broad quest for (soil health) knowledge as I’m seeing now,” says Barry Fisher, United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service.  “And this interest in soil health extends far beyond the farm gate,” adds Bill Buckner, President of the Noble Research Institute and Chair of the Board of SHI. “Consumer packaged goods companies, environmental groups, financial investors, and many others are recognizing the importance and value of improving soil health.”

Living Soil captures the background of the current soil health movement and its momentum, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitions to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health. The film features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, selling everything from corn to bouquets, united by their care for the soil.

Watch the film here:

Read the full story here:

Request for Applications

Qualified Laboratories are Invited to Submit a Proposal.

The Soil Health Institute is seeking laboratories to conduct soil analyses in support of its North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements. The goal of this project is to determine which measurements are the most effective indicators of soil health in varying climatic zones, soil types and production systems. Soil samples will come from up to 150 long-term agricultural field experiments in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Qualified laboratories are invited to submit a proposal following guidelines described in the Request for Applications.

3rd Annual Meeting Report

2018 Annual Meeting: Soil Health Leaders Advance Agenda-

Thank you to all who attended the Soil Health Institute’s 3rd Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The 3rd Annual Meeting Report features an executive summary of the meeting; video links and text descriptions for all plenary and keynote presentations; Action Team Breakout Reports; poster session abstracts and authors; and an attendee list. All videos are posted to SHI’s YouTube Channel.

A special thanks to our Action Team Volunteers and Co-Chairs, plenary speakers, and keynote speakers. Thank you to The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, General Mills, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and McKnight Foundation for your generous and continued support. Thank you to our partners at the Tri-Societies, Datu Research, Soil Health Partnership, University of Missouri-SARE, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Conservation Technology Information Center, Field to Market, National Association of Conservation Districts, Soil and Water Conservation Society, The Nature Conservancy, The Fertilizer Institute, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and FoodShot Global for your support in advancing soil health.

Next year’s Annual Meeting will be held on July 16-18, 2019 at the Hyatt-Regency in Sacramento, California!


Save the date by clicking one of the icons below!

Position Announcement

Agricultural Economist

Term: 1 year.

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a non-profit organization created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement, is seeking an Agricultural Economist for a one-year contract.  The individual selected will assess the economics of soil health-promoting practices/systems using data from long-term agricultural experimental sites across North America and integrate that information with local on-farm data separately collected in strategic coordination with partners.  The individual selected can operate from a remote location or at SHI headquarters in Morrisville, North Carolina.

Duties Include:

  • Leading data template development for agricultural research sites.
  • Supervising economics-related data collection from up to 150 agricultural research sites.
  • Researching, establishing, and applying standardized costs and returns associated with a wide diversity of agricultural practices, crops, soils, and climates.
  • Performing partial budget analysis and analyzing data for individual sites and across networks of sites.
  • Leading data template development for on-farm case studies.
  • Integrating research site findings with on-farm case study findings.
  • Preparing findings for publication to scientific and agricultural producer/field practitioner audiences.
  • Occasional travel.


  • A Master’s or Ph.D. degree in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Finance, Agribusiness, Accounting, or closely related field is required.
  • A Ph.D. in an economics or natural resource discipline is preferred.
  • Experience conducting partial budget analysis at agronomic field trial and on-farm scales is desired.
  • Demonstrated expertise in understanding farm accounting principles and economic relationships in agriculture is desired.
  • Expertise in statistical analysis is desired.
  • Experience in writing for technical and/or popular journals is desired.
  • Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.

To Apply:

Email a resume/C.V., college transcripts, and the names and contact information of 3 references to:
Byron Rath,
Indicate “Agricultural Economist” in the subject line.

First review of applications will begin by October 29, 2018, and the position will remain open until filled.

Noble Research Institute President Sets Retirement Date

Noble Research Institute consultants will host a So You Want to Raise Cattle Workshop to provide new and perspective producers with a concrete foundation of the primary considerations involved in entering into beef cattle production.

ARDMORE, Okla. — Bill Buckner announced today that he will retire as president and chief executive officer of the Noble Research Institute at the end of 2018.

Buckner was selected as Noble’s eighth president in 2011 and has led the organization for seven years. “There are no words to properly express the thankfulness I have for my time at Noble,” Buckner said. “Every day at Noble, I have the opportunity to positively impact agriculture and contribute to something greater than myself. I am honored to be a part of the Noble legacy, and I’m excited to see the next chapter unfold for myself and the organization.”

Russell “Rusty” Noble, a member of the Board of Director’s executive committee and founder Lloyd Noble’s grandson, hailed Buckner’s tireless pursuit to advance agriculture. “When you meet Bill Buckner, you know one thing for sure: he loves agriculture. He is a passionate advocate for the sector,” Noble said. “During his time at Noble, Bill worked tirelessly to promote soil health and create innovative new solutions that could open up new opportunities for farmers and ranchers. The Noble Foundation Board of Directors and all the employees offer a whole-hearted thanks to Bill for all of his work.”

The Board of Directors has retained Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm, to assist in identifying Buckner’s successor. If a successor has not been identified by the end of 2018, Buckner will continue in his current role until such time as his replacement can be found. “We are confident in the continuity of the Noble Research Institute’s business activities,” Noble said. “When a successor is identified, the transition will be seamless.”

Bill Buckner announces his plans to retire as president and CEO of the Noble Research Institute during an employee meeting in Ardmore, Oklahoma, on Sept. 18, 2018. Buckner will retire at the end of 2018 after leading the organization for seven years.

A Missouri native, Buckner earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1979. He spent the next four decades working in agriculture industry, including 18 years with Bayer. Buckner retired as North American Regional Head and president and CEO of Bayer CropScience, LP in 2011. Later that year, he agreed to lead Noble.

During Buckner’s tenure as President and CEO, Noble experienced one of its most dramatic organizational shifts in its 73-year history. Originally known as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Noble separated its research and education operations from its philanthropic activities in 2017.

The organization’s research, education and consultation activities continued forward under a new name, the Noble Research Institute, LLC and becomes one of the country’s first agricultural research organizations, a new type of 501(c)(3). The philanthropic activities, including grant-making and scholarship programs, of the original organization were placed in a new, private foundation, which carried the name traditionally associated with the organization’s community giving, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation.

The Buckner era saw Noble expand its educational and community service efforts, dive deeper into cover crop research, establish the Land Stewardship Program, increase its national collaborations and re-established soil health as a core competency.

Noble brought together farmers, ranchers, soil scientists, economists, environmental interests, agribusinesses, NGOs and government agencies together to examine the role of soil health. Their work identified the need for a national organization to serve as a hub for measurement standards, economic data and coordinated research. Noble then launched the Soil Health Institute (SHI) in 2015. The soil-focused nonprofit aims to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the soil through scientific research and advancement.

“Soil health is very much at the heart of the Noble Research Institute mission,” Buckner said. “Our founder Lloyd Noble lived through the Dust Bowl and he established our organization to help combat the agricultural challenges our region faced. Launching SHI continues to bring Mr. Noble’s vision to the national stage.”

In recent years at the Institute, Buckner has been spearheading the creation of the Ecosystem Services Market (ESM), an ambitious national effort to incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health systems by creating a large-scale program that would finance, generate and sell ecosystem service credits from agriculture working lands.

“I am so proud of the tremendous accomplishments of the past seven years,” Buckner said. “As our founder once said, ‘No individual accomplishes anything worthwhile by his effort alone.” I know that to be true. Any success I have experienced is a direct result of the tremendous men and women I’ve worked with every day here at Noble and our collaborators around the country.”

Looking forward to 2019, Buckner said he anticipated spending more time with his family. While he is retiring from his organizational leadership role, Buckner will continue to serve the agricultural sector.

“Time with my children and grandchildren is first on the agenda,” Buckner said. “However, I’m not done yet. The encore of my career will be spent helping shepherd the ESM project on behalf of Noble as well as the Soil Health Institute, where I serve as Chairman of the Board. While I will no longer have the daily responsibilities of leading an organization, I will continue to be involved in advancing agriculture. That’s something I will never stop doing.”

Announcing a new partnership with FoodShot Global

We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership with FoodShot Global, a brand new investment platform catalyzing groundbreaking innovation in the food and agriculture space. Up to $10 million in equity and up to $20 million in debt funding is available to innovative businesses! In addition, a GroundBreaker Prize of more than $500,000 in philanthropic capital is available to researchers, social entrepreneurs and advocates.

FoodShot’s inaugural challenge, Innovating Soil 3.0, is searching for projects and ideas that utilize the latest in technology, science and engineering to address the crisis of soil deterioration.

As a partner of this unique non-profit organization, we hope to make the food system healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. The deadline for applications and nominations is December 1. Apply today and feel free to pass the information along! For more information, go to

Position Announcement

Chief Scientific Officer –

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a nonprofit organization created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement, seeks a Chief Scientific Officer (CSO).

The CSO will be responsible for:

  • developing and establishing scientific direction, strategy and implementation for the Institute research programs;
  • leading scientific research and coordinating projects conducted with partnering institutions that advance soil health science and result in useful and reportable outcomes;
  • writing grant proposals and ensuring projects are designed to create tangible, mission-oriented outcomes aligned with the Institute’s strategic Action Plan;
  • negotiating grant awards with institutional grant recipients;
  • coordinating and working with principal investigators to advance research projects;
  • leading multi-disciplinary (i.e., basic, translational, and applied) research;
  • leading and serving as a liaison to assigned Working Committees/Action Teams;
  • establishing and coordinating a Science Advisory Committee;
  • administering measurement standards and coordinating research peer reviews;
  • leading expansion and ensuring relevance of the Soil Health Research Landscape Tool;
  • furthering positive collaboration across the soil health community;
  • and other duties, as assigned.

A Ph.D. in an agricultural science discipline with at least one degree in soil science is required.  A Ph.D. in soil science is highly preferred. Experience managing large scale, well-coordinated research efforts is preferred.  The position is located at the Soil Health Institute’s office near Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.  Compensation to be commensurate with experience.  To apply, please email a letter of application addressing the experience required and responsibilities of the position, along with a curriculum vitae, copies of all college transcripts, and the names and contact information of four references to Mr. Byron Rath:  Please include “Chief Scientific Officer” in the email subject line.  First review of applications will begin September 17, 2018. The position will remain open until filled.  Applicants must be authorized to work in the United States.

Human Health and Soil Health Conference Registration

Registration is Open!

Registration is open for a conference to explore the connections between soil health and human health! Together we will create an interdisciplinary, collaborative research roadmap to further advance our understanding of those relationships.

Kickstarter Conference to Create a Research Collaboration Roadmap


  • Make relevant connections between soil and human health sciences;
  • Identify promising research opportunities;
  • Build interdisciplinary teams to address those research needs; and
  • Propose funding mechanisms that will lead to scientific findings that benefit the health of agricultural systems, the environment, and the public.

To facilitate meaningful, interactive dialogue, the conference is limited to 200 attendees. Registration is open until filled, or until October 6, whichever comes first, and the cost of registration is $300.

Register Here

For more information including the agenda, confirmed speakers and sponsorship opportunities visit our website here.

SHI Announces Policy Resources

Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President & CEO of the Soil Health Institute, leads efforts to connect soil health researchers to current policies and programs.

A Catalog of Academic, State Agency and Legislative Policies & Programs to Advance Soil Health

Soil health policies are growing in number and importance across the United States but are widely dispersed across a variety of academic institutions, state agencies and legislative bodies. This catalog brings these policy efforts together to facilitate cross-pollination, learning and coordination.

Access the Catalog