Category Archives: News

Virtual Showcase Highlights the Importance of Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture for U.S. Cotton Farmers

FOR INFORMATION:
David Lamm +1-336-613-8322
dlamm@soilhealthinstitute.org

Research Triangle Park, NC, April 14, 2021 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, recently concluded the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase, a series of eight online discussions with U.S. cotton farmers and soil health experts highlighting the challenges and positive impact soil health management systems can have on agricultural productivity and farm profitability.

More than 950 participants, including cotton farmers, crop consultants and other interested parties, attended the virtual showcases. The entire series is now available to view on-demand and can be accessed at https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/farmer-showcase/.

Presenting from seven different regions, the speakers at each event summarized how producers are making essential soil health practices like no-till and cover crops work under local soil and climate conditions.

Of all the participants surveyed, more than 99 percent were either “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied” after attending the webinars. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:

“Including the farmers in this session was awesome. It is so great to hear from their perspective.” – Participant from Texas showcase


"I was particularly interested in what they said about landlords. I am looking for renters that are more open minded about these subjects.” – Participant from Arkansas showcase


“These meetings are very useful to scientists doing work in soil management. Keep up the excellent work and the engaging use of the Zoom platform!” – Participant from California showcase

The eighth and final episode culminated in a panel of regenerative agriculture leaders sharing their insights on why soil health is important to the future of U.S. cotton. The panel featured Greg Bohrer, Director, Natural Capital, Walmart Foundation; Dr. Jesse Daystar, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Cotton Incorporated; Dr. Gary Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Cotton Council; and Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Soil Health Institute.

“Cotton Incorporated is dedicated to conducting research and promoting activities to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton,” said Dr. Daystar. “We’re fortunate to have so many partners in the industry working on this critical sustainability issue and empowering farmers to adopt soil health systems.”

"[Adoption has] got to be tied as well to the practices and the bottom line," said Dr. Adams. "At the end of the day, farmers are going to be good stewards of the land, but they have to be able to do it in a way that makes them viable economically as well."

This event is part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, which provides farmer-focused education and training delivered by Soil Health Institute scientists, partnering with local soil health technical specialists and farmer mentors who have implemented successful soil health management systems. The project aims to increase the adoption of soil health management systems among cotton producers while documenting environmental and economic benefits of that adoption.

Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler® brand, the VF Corporation Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. For more information about the project, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/.

 

The Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase Series

 

EPISODE 1 | Spotlight on Mississippi

Soil Health Challenges in the Delta: What Works and What Doesn’t

View episode 1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gC1NoCPczQA

 

 

EPISODE 2 | Spotlight on Texas

Soil Health in Texas: Lessons from Long-term Study Sites

View episode 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Udb24KN5chY

 

 

EPISODE 3 | Spotlight on Arkansas

Soil Health in Arkansas: Is it Profitable?

View episode 3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHJKaO5r2Jg

 

 

EPISODE 4 | Spotlight on California

Improving Soil Health in a Dry Climate

View episode 4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-_XYnytlkQ

 

 

EPISODE 5 | Spotlight on Georgia

Soil Health in a Cotton and Peanut Rotation

View episode 5
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQqt0jyoL9A

 

 

EPISODE 6 | Spotlight on North Carolina/Virginia

Soil Health: View from the Cotton Gin

View episode 6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32S-7b5ShvU

 

 

EPISODE 7 | Spotlight on the Carolinas

Lessons from 8 Years of Regenerative Agriculture

View episode 7

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzD-RaAZ8Pw

 

EPISODE 8 | Spotlight on Regenerative Ag Leaders

Why Soil Health is Important to the Future of U.S. Cotton

View episode 8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HSXxJFSbnrI

 

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About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. We bring together leaders in soil health science and the industry to help farmers, ranchers, and landowners adopt soil health systems that build drought resilience, stabilize yield, and benefit their bottom line. The Institute’s team of scientists, holding doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, has developed highly effective soil health targets and standardized measurements to quantify progress at achieving regenerative and sustainable agricultural systems, and leads the cutting-edge fields of carbon sequestration and decoding the soil microbiome. Healthy soils are the foundation for rejuvenating our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help agriculture and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

 

About Wrangler®

Wrangler® apparel is available nationwide in mass market retailers, specialty stores, including work apparel chains, farm & fleet, and western stores, as well as through online and catalog retailers. To find a retailer or for more information on the Wrangler family of products, visit Wrangler.com or call 888.784.8571.

 

About VF Corporation

VF Corporation outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels. VF is committed to delivering innovative products to consumers and creating long-term value for its customers and shareholders. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.

 

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By focusing where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social and environmental issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 26 countries, employs more than 2.2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, advance equity, address hunger, build inclusive economic opportunity for people in supply chains, protect and restore nature, reduce waste and emissions, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.

Ever Hear of The Soil Health Institute? Or Soil Sciences? You Have Now.

soil-health-institute-collage-scaled

The efforts of the Institute are enhanced at a time when extreme climate events are driving conversation of conservation to enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement.

By Judd Spicer, Senior Writer, California Business Journal

Dr. Cristine Morgan has never shied from digging for dirt. In fact, she revels in it.

As the Chief Scientific Officer at the Soil Health Institute (SHI), Morgan’s work with the North Carolina-based non-profit has seen a merge, and a growth, of social sciences and soil sciences.

The coalesced efforts have resulted in soil health knowledge, economics and best practices not simply gathered – but better organized and shared with colleagues, partners and farmers across the country.

For Morgan, a longtime, former tenured professor of Soil Sciences at Texas A&M University, the call to join the Soil Health Institute in late 2019 was pre-dated by the seeds of outreach opportunity.

“I got involved in leading a concept called ‘Global Soil Security,’ and in 2014, I hosted the first Global Soil Security Conference, held at College Station, Texas A&M University,” Morgan recalls. “And we had around 40 different institutions and 12 countries represented.  In that, I realized that while soil science is amazing, the ability to break out of our silo had not matured much.”

Enhancing the reach of soil health communication turned Morgan’s career in a new direction.

“At the time, my focus was on soil hydrology, but, after the conference, I became very passionate about all aspects of soil stewardship and science,” she continues.  “I submitted a proposal in partnership with an economist and a sociologist, and along with a handful of graduate students, we began working on a survey of farmers in an area in Texas, trying to understand barriers to adoption of soil management practices.  We wanted to understand the needs of farmers when they are deciding whether to adopt management practices that also benefit the environment.”

cristine-morgan

Missioned to enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement, SHI, founded in its present iteration in 2016, provided Morgan the chance to not only assemble soil health knowledge on a greater scale, but also to extend messaging of information.

“When the position opened up at the Soil Health Institute, I saw an opportunity to take this assembled wealth of knowledge in soil sciences and get it out to the world,” Morgan says. “This job is a unique opportunity to try and merge the social science with my own abilities with highly-technical soil information.”

In her post — surrounded by like-minded experts across the fields of academia, agriculture, climate and economics – Morgan has been enabled to enact real-time change efforts through SHI’s wide lens of training, research, education and hands-on projects.


“It’s also about monitoring the impact of change, so we can communicate that with the people who manage soils on a farm and also everybody else who lives off of our natural resources. We’re all impacted by positive improvements in soil health. We’re trying to bring this information to light, and enable change-makers to monitor and credibly-measure their change.” — Dr. Cristine Morgan


Exampling the efforts is SHI’s Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, an eight-part webinar series for farmers, running through March. “This is a big idea, and it’s about getting the information out there,” Morgan enthuses. “Just going to somebody with a bunch of information and suggesting a change is a lot different than the work of continuous engagement – that’s what this program is focused on. Adoption of new management practices is hard, and it takes work, learning, ingenuity and flexibility to make changes on the farm.

Farming, akin to politics, is much about locality. As such, the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project is provincial in context, with farmer mentors — and the economics therein — being showcased to other farmers across the country, including spotlights on Texas, California, Arkansas, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Mississippi.

“It’s about what success looks like locally; soils, climates and cropping systems are local combinations,” Morgan explains. “We’re trying to highlight what success looks like in individual locations. Provincialism is very important; if you look at a soils map of the country, you’ll see that soils vary greatly across and between states, as do cropping systems and the climate.”

The efforts of SHI come, of course, at a time when extreme climate events are enhancing conversations around conservation. An increased onus on domestic natural resources, from soil to sky, has Morgan witnessing an upshift in the tenor of sustainability and regenerative agriculture.

“Combining the pandemic with the fires, the freezing temperatures in places likes Texas, the wind storms in the Midwest – all of these things are reminding us of the urgency of paying attention to our environment,” Morgan says. “I feel like the tone of urgency is changing.”

Per the ongoing times of virus, Morgan has seen her outreach turn virtual.

“The first year of the program, it was very hands-on, moving around to different states and farms,” she says. “I loved doing these projects in-person, and, of course, seeing these people and these locations in-person, it’s all so tangible. There’s nothing like seeing these landscapes, farms, and their stewards in-person.

Any yet, the digital shift may also come with long-term benefits.

“We definitely want to get back in person, but I think that, during COVID, we’ve also learned the importance of having virtual tools and materials,” she adds. “There’s definitely been an uptick in interest. For instance, we had a set of certified crop advisor training webinars, and we broke records in online registration and attendance.”

soil-health-institute-farmers

 

Akin to the cache of environmental issues becoming more pronounced amid the pandemic’s push to more closely review how lifestyles effect personal wellness and the world beyond, a closer national focus on soil health is rising to the surface.


“We take soil for granted: we walk on it, drive on it, build on it, but we also grow our food on it. What makes us so lucky as a country is that we have an amazing soil resource. Being able to take for granted this resource is a luxury that not all global citizens have. And yet, that can occur to a fault: it’s what we benefit from, but also what we suffer from, because we can abuse our soils  and not realize consequences until it’s a problem.” — Dr. Cristine Morgan


Uniting the soil study and farming communities is finding Morgan deeper in the dirt. And by exploring education and solutions in-tandem, that’s exactly where she wants to be.

“It feels good to be working together in this community to get the job done. I think that soil health is a job that can be done,” she concludes. “It feels like a lower lift than trying to solve climate change, but improving soil health is also such an important component of addressing climate change, water quality, and other environmental challenges. I think we can have success here. And that success will feel good and be good for everybody.”

Copyright © 2021 California Business Journal. All Rights Reserved.

This article was edited and published by Rick Weinberg, California Business Journal’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief. Click here for Rick Weinberg’s biography.

TO READ THE MAGAZINE VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.

Cotton Industry Leaders Share the Importance of Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture During Virtual Showcase

Research Triangle Park, NC, March 10, 2021 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, invites you to join Mr. Greg Bohrer, Director of Natural Capital at Walmart Foundation; Dr. Jesse Daystar, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Cotton, Inc.; and Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Soil Health Institute, at the virtually held Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase, at 2 p.m. (EST) on March 23, 2021.

In this eighth and final episode of the event, “Why Soil Health is Important to the Future of U.S. Cotton: Spotlight on Regenerative Ag Leaders,” the panel will discuss the importance of soil health and regenerative agriculture to the U.S. cotton industry’s long-term viability. They will tackle pressing industry issues, including consumers’ increased interest in sustainably grown food and fiber, the “Cotton Trust Protocol,” and the science supporting soil health principles.

“Cotton Incorporated is dedicated to conducting research and promoting activities to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton,” said Dr. Daystar. “We’re fortunate to have so many partners in the industry working on this critical sustainability issue and empowering farmers to adopt soil health systems.”

“The science is clear,” noted Dr. Honeycutt. “Regenerative ag practices help to store more carbon in soils, which not only benefits a cotton farmer’s bottom line, but also improves water quality and helps fight climate change. The Soil Health Institute is committed to providing the latest scientific research, measurements, educational resources, and economic information that will help more cotton farmers adopt these highly beneficial soil health systems.”

The Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase is a series of eight online discussions with U.S. cotton farmers and soil health experts that started livestreaming on February 2, 2021, and is presented every Tuesday at 2 p.m. (EST) through March 23, 2021. Cotton producers, consultants, and other interested parties may register one time to attend all eight episodes. Registration is free but required to participate. Following the conclusion of the series, all showcase episodes will be available on the Soil Health Institute’s YouTube.

To register for the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase and learn more about other episodes, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/farmer-showcase/.

This event is part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, which provides farmer-focused education and training delivered by Soil Health Institute scientists, partnering with local soil health technical specialists and farmer mentors who have implemented successful soil health management systems. The project aims to increase the adoption of soil health management systems among cotton producers while documenting environmental and economic benefits of that adoption.

Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler® brand, the VF Corporation Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation. For more information about the project, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/.

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About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks, and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment, and society.

 About Wrangler®

Wrangler® apparel is available nationwide in mass market retailers, specialty stores, including work apparel chains, farm & fleet, and western stores, as well as through online and catalog retailers. To find a retailer or for more information on the Wrangler family of products, visit Wrangler.com or call 888.784.8571.

About VF Corporation

VF Corporation outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels. VF is committed to delivering innovative products to consumers and creating long-term value for its customers and shareholders. For more information, visit www.vfc.com.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart.org represents the philanthropic efforts of Walmart and the Walmart Foundation. By leaning in where the business has unique strengths, Walmart.org works to tackle key social issues and collaborate with others to spark long-lasting systemic change. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employs more than 2 million associates and does business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Walmart.org is helping people live better by supporting programs that work to accelerate upward job mobility for frontline workers, address hunger and make healthier, more sustainably grown food a reality, and build strong communities where Walmart operates. To learn more, visit www.walmart.org or connect on Twitter @Walmartorg.

Economics of Soil Health Evaluated on 100 Farms by the Soil Health Institute and Cargill

Soil health systems increased net income for 85% of farmers growing corn and 88% growing soybean

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC, Mar. 9, 2021 – Improving soil health can help farmers build drought resilience, increase nutrient availability, suppress diseases, reduce erosion and nutrient losses, and increase economic benefits according to recent Soil Health Institute research. “In addition to benefiting farmers and their land, many soil health management systems also benefit the broader environment by storing soil carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving water quality,” says Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO, Soil Health Institute (SHI). “However, investing in soil health is also a business decision, and information regarding the economic benefits of adopting soil health practices was limited until the Institute’s recent evaluation.”

To address this information gap, Cargill and SHI partnered to assess the economics of soil health management systems and provide farmers with the economic information they need when deciding whether to adopt regenerative soil health systems.

SHI researchers interviewed 100 farmers across nine states (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Tennessee) who adopted soil health systems to acquire production information such as tillage practices, nutrient management, pest management, yield changes, and others. Dr. Archie Flanders, SHI Agricultural Economist, then evaluated the on-farm economics using partial budget analysis. A detailed description of the partial budget methodology used can be found on the SHI website: https://soilhealthinstitute.org/economics/. In this approach, the costs and benefits of a soil health system are compared before and after adoption of that system.

KEY FINDINGS:

From the data collection and analysis across all 100 farms, SHI found that soil health management systems:

    1. Increased net income for 85% of farmers growing corn and 88% of farmers growing soybean,
    2. Reduced the average cost to grow corn by $24/acre and soybean by $17/acre, and
    3. Increased net farm income by an average of $52/acre for corn and $45/acre for soybean.

“In addition, 97% of the farmers we interviewed reported their soil health management system increased crop resilience to extreme weather,” said Dr. John Shanahan, Project Manager for the study.

“There has been growing awareness and interest among farmers in soil health. Increasingly, they are looking for a more robust picture of the long-term benefits soil health management systems can provide,” said Ryan Sirolli, Global Row Crop Sustainability Director at Cargill. “We’re encouraged by the work the Soil Health Institute has done to provide additional quantitative evidence to demonstrate the economic benefits of adopting soil health management systems. These results further our confidence that agriculture is how farmers can become more resilient and profitable while making a positive impact on the environment.”

“To get information into the hands of farmers that is most relevant to them, we are presenting results for each individual state using webinars and fact sheets,” said Dr. Honeycutt. “The webinars will cover the highlights and give farmers an opportunity to ask questions, while the fact sheets will provide a bit more detail for their particular state. We are inviting as many state-based, ag-related organizations as we can find and asking them to please forward the invitation to all farmers on their mailing list.”

The following schedule will be used for the state-by-state webinars that occur weekly from March 18 through May 13. Registration is free but required to participate. All who register will receive that state’s fact sheet.

 Iowa

Webinar scheduled for 3/18, 1 p.m. Central Time (CT)/2 p.m. Eastern Time (ET). Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Ncr9yx7pTzShHS3bt7UdnA

Nebraska

Webinar scheduled for 3/25, 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_PdIECNp5SZyD4Zwwao7Mug

Tennessee

Webinar scheduled for 4/1, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_vRljwTSbTyOliJ3unc_ndQ

Illinois

Webinar scheduled for 4/8, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZdRZImQIR6uKSMx2X2lK5A

Indiana

Webinar scheduled for 4/15, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_nJGr_884RmKqLkiQdM0jfw

South Dakota

Webinar scheduled for 4/22, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_2hUHlnuBTYCwEQXLEZ2yzQ

Minnesota

Webinar scheduled for 4/29, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_dK2yawGvQJCjn4BRpxJ_cg

 Ohio

Webinar scheduled for 5/6, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_hUOxZ44NSoKJbq1k0lO2Ow

 Michigan

Webinar scheduled for 5/13, at 1 p.m. CT/2 p.m. ET. Register here:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ZAWeUa4TR7i8egq8bky5GQ

For further information, visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org.

 About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. We bring together leaders in soil health science and the industry to help farmers, ranchers, and landowners adopt soil health systems that build drought resilience, stabilize yields, and benefit their bottom line, all while benefiting the environment.

The Institute’s team of scientists, holding doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, has developed highly effective soil health targets and standardized measurements to quantify progress at achieving regenerative and sustainable agricultural systems, and leads the cutting-edge fields of carbon sequestration and decoding the soil microbiome.

Healthy soils are the foundation for rejuvenating our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, improve water quality, and help agriculture and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale.

Visit soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

About Cargill

Cargill's 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive.

 We combine 153 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.

Soil Health Institute announces new agency of record, Rivers Agency, to further its mission

Morrisville, NC., March 4, 2021 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the global non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, is collaborating with Rivers Agency for its marketing and communications programs. After a competitive search for an agency of record, SHI selected Rivers to help the organization expand its impact as a primary resource for soil health science and information.

“Our vision is a world where farmers and ranchers grow quality food, fiber and fuel using soil health systems that sustain farms and rural communities, promote a stable climate and environment, and improve human health and wellbeing,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “Our research and education programs help growers adopt best practices for regenerative agriculture that increase profitability, build drought resilience, sequester carbon, and improve water quality. We’re thrilled to have Rivers Agency as our strategic partner to elevate our thought leadership and impact.”

SHI and Rivers got to work immediately, holding in-depth discovery sessions with SHI leadership and board members. From those interviews, goals were established and a marketing plan for 2021 was created. The marketing work began with the announcement and promotion of two web-based series aimed at helping farmers make measurable improvements towards sustainable practices.

Through a corporate partnership, a large study was conducted to assess, demonstrate and communicate the economics of soil health management systems. More than 100 farms were studied across nine states, which produced findings specific to different climates, soil types and growing conditions. Results of the study are being provided in fact sheets and webinars on a state-by-state basis, and these sessions are being promoted through media outreach and social media.

As part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, conducted in partnership with a clothing brand and corporate foundations, SHI is presenting an eight-part series called the Cotton Farmer Showcase. Rivers designed email blasts and created social media posts to promote the webinars and drive registrations.

“We’ve done a lot of work to devise and implement a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of soil health systems,” said Sheldon Jones, chief operating officer, SHI. “Using the results of our team’s research and partnerships, we’ve seen countless growers adopt soil health systems that help them stay in business. It’s testimonials like these that make us passionate about getting the word out so more growers have the knowledge and resources they need to sustain their operations.”

A social media campaign and new tagline also were developed to reflect the importance of SHI’s work and mission: Enriching Soil, Enhancing Life.

“We need more growers, landowners, policymakers and consumers to understand how soil health affects every aspect of our lives—from water quality to our food supply,” said Lauren Rivers, founder and president of Rivers Agency. “With the new administration in Washington and its commitment to tackling climate change, we’re thrilled to help SHI seize this opportunity and lead the conversation about using soil health to combat the biggest challenge facing our environment — global warming.”

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. We bring together leaders in soil health science and the industry to help farmers, ranchers and landowners adopt soil health systems that build drought resilience, stabilize yields and benefit their bottom line, all while benefiting the environment.

The Institute’s team of scientists, holding doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, has developed highly effective soil health targets and standardized measurements to quantify progress at achieving regenerative and sustainable agricultural systems, and leads the cutting-edge fields of carbon sequestration and decoding the soil microbiome. 

Healthy soils are the foundation for rejuvenating our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help agriculture and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. 

Visit soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

About Rivers Agency

Rivers Agency is an advertising, branding, design, digital, social, PR and web development agency with locations in Raleigh and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since 1993, our teams have been creating integrated campaigns, innovative marketing solutions and user-friendly web experiences for B2C and B2B clients on both a national and local scale.

We’re proud that our creative and web development work has earned accolades from the Addy Awards, Communicator Awards, MarCom Awards, Davey Awards, W3 Awards, and our agency is recognized as one of the largest advertising agencies by the Triangle Business Journal. But our true passion is working with clients and using our creativity to seize opportunities and conquer challenges so we can deliver results and exceed your expectations.

To see our work or learn more, visit riversagency.com or follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, Twitter and Instagram.

For media inquiries, contact Rivers Agency:
publicrelations@riversagency.com

919-932-9985

Soil Health Institute to collaborate with Truterra on TruCarbon™

Soil Health Institute to collaborate with Truterra on TruCarbon™ metrics and soil sampling protocols

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the global non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, is collaborating with Truterra as the scientific partner for soil metrics and sampling design for TruCarbon, the first farmer-owned carbon program in the U.S.

TruCarbon is a transformational new carbon program that will help farmers generate and sell carbon credits to private sector buyers. For the initial launch, SHI will develop the soil sampling design and methodologies for qualifying farmers to be compensated for the carbon they have sequestered retroactively, over the last five years, by adopting soil health practices in prior growing seasons.

Microsoft is the first secured buyer that will purchase the vintage carbon credits toward its ambitious commitment to be carbon negative by 2030.

“TruCarbon is like no other offering on the market because it is built with the farmer at the center, backed by the most cutting-edge technology platform on the market. That means that companies and others looking to buy trusted carbon credits can connect with farmers and support the adoption of more sustainable practices on farms across the country,” said Jason Weller, Vice President, Truterra. “We are excited to be able to bring this program to farmers through our trusted network of ag retailers, offering a competitive price and streamlined experience so that they can stay focused on farming and their stewardship.”

The earth is warming due to excessive amounts of greenhouse gases being released in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and methane. An important opportunity for addressing this issue is to sequester more carbon in soils, and scientists at SHI are publishing peer-reviewed studies showing that soil health systems are very effective at doing this.

“The science is clear,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute, “Storing more carbon in soils not only benefits a farmer’s bottom line, but also improves water quality and helps fight climate change. Farmers who adopt soil health practices build drought resilience, reduce erosion and minimize nutrient losses. All of us at the Soil Health Institute are excited to work with Truterra on this project because it will help achieve these on-farm and environmental benefits at scale.”

The Soil Health Institute will provide technical assistance to support the soil sampling strategy and design, field and laboratory methodologies, data analysis and quantification of the carbon sequestered in soils by participating farmers.

Interested farmers can find out more about the program and enroll at www.truterraag.com/CarbonSurvey.

About the Soil Health Institute
The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. We bring together leaders in soil health science and the industry to help farmers, ranchers and landowners adopt soil health systems that build in drought resiliency, stabilize yields and benefit their bottom line.

The Institute’s team of scientists, holding doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, has developed highly effective soil health targets and standardized measurements to quantify progress at achieving regenerative and sustainable agricultural systems, and leads the cutting-edge fields of carbon sequestration and decoding the soil microbiome.

Healthy soils are the foundation for rejuvenating our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help agriculture and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale.

Visit soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

About Truterra, LLC
Truterra is a leading stewardship solutions provider, advancing and connecting sustainability efforts throughout the food system with scale – from farmers to ag retailers to collaborators such as food companies. Truterra positions farmers for success by providing them tools and resources to establish a stewardship baseline and track progress on every field they farm. The Truterra™ network brings together the best in agricultural technology and on-farm business management to drive sustainability across the food system, feeding people, safeguarding the planet and supporting farmer livelihoods. Truterra was launched in 2016 by Land O’Lakes, Inc., a member-owned cooperative that spans the spectrum from agricultural production to consumer foods.

See the news release

Partnering with the Soil Health Institute Benefits Agriculture and the Environment

Partnering with the Soil Health Institute

In the last 10 years, “soil health” has evolved from an obscure concept to a central tenet that is the foundation for regenerative and sustainable agriculture. The Soil Health Institute champions the agricultural practices and systems that will provide nutritious food for a growing population, arrest climate change, conserve and enhance natural resources, and support the individuals who will achieve these benefits for the rest of us – our world’s farmers.
As a leading voice in this evolution, the Soil Health Institute is fortunate to partner with hundreds of individuals and organizations to address key barriers to widescale adoption of soil health systems. The Institute’s recent and forthcoming advances include:

    • Providing a comprehensive strategy for advancing soil health
    • Performing economic assessments of soil health systems on 125 farms
    • Identifying the most effective soil health measurements for everyone to use across North America (and likely beyond)
    • Offering on-farm and classroom soil health training programs for farmers and their advisers
    • Creating new tools for building on-farm drought resilience
    • Establishing locally relevant soil health targets for benchmarking current status and measuring progress
    • Assessing the soil health impacts on greenhouse gas emissions at 90 sites in more than 30 states
    • Launching online databases with more than 13,000 soil health references, almost 300 state-level programs and policies, and over 40 resources for K-12 educational programs
    • Analyzing over 60 Farm Bill programs/provisions on soil health
    • Briefing Congress to promote well-informed policies
    • Conducting an assessment of soil health practice adoption across the U.S.
    • Producing the Living Soil documentary, available for free on YouTube, with accompanying lesson plans
    • Developing online resources for farmers and consumers on soil health practices, economics, ecosystem services, measurements, climate change, communications and others

Soil scientist

These programs and accomplishments have provided the Soil Health Institute with the knowledge, experience and capacity to offer a range of partnership opportunities for advancing the science and practicality of soil health, including:

  • Strategic planning and implementation on local to global scales
  • Soil health measurements to establish baselines and achievable soil health targets
  • Soil carbon measurement and interpretation that supports carbon markets
  • Soil health training for farmers, consultants, government and private field conservationists
  • On-farm economic assessments of locally relevant soil health systems
  • Environmental assessments of conservation practices ranging from greenhouse gas emissions to water quality
  • Providing evidence-based information for state and federal policies
  • Conducting basic to applied research and development, ranging from the soil microbiome to decision-support tools and apps for farmers
  • and many others

 

We invite agencies, businesses, farmers, and other interested parties to reach out today to explore how the Soil Health Institute can help integrate soil health into your agricultural and environmental goals.  Please contact us here

Cotton Farmer Showcase

Eight informative discussions with farmers & specialists

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, invites you to join eight online discussions with U.S. cotton farmers and soil health experts who are improving soil health and evaluating its return on investment.

The Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase events will be livestreamed beginning 2 p.m. (EST), Tuesday, February 2, 2021 and run every Tuesday through March.  Cotton producers, consultants and other interested parties may register one time to participate in each showcase and receive notifications for each event. Registration is free but required to participate.

Learn more and register here.

HEALTHY SOILS FOR SUSTAINABLE COTTON FARMER SHOWCASE
Illuminating Discussions with Cotton Growers and Leaders on Improving Soil Health in Eight States

BUILDING SOIL HEALTH – THE FOUNDATION OF REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

Episode 1 Date Speakers
Soil Health Challenges in the Delta: What Works and What Doesn’t February 2, 2021 Mr. Sledge Taylor, Farmer, Como, MS
Mr. Parker Frew, Delta F.A.R.M.

SPOTLIGHT ON MISSISSIPPI

The Delta, with its fine-grained, dark soils and sometimes significant pressures from tough weeds such as Palmer amaranth or extreme weather such as a slow-moving hurricane, demands special skills from its cotton growers.

  • Improving internal soil drainage
  • Capturing more rainfall in the soil profile
  • Increasing soil organic matter
Episode 2 Date Speakers
Soil Health in Texas: Lessons from Long-term Study Sites February 9, 2021 Dr. Paul DeLaune, Texas AgriLife Professor Environmental Soil Science

Dr. Jamie Foster, Texas AgriLife Professor Forages

Dr. Katie Lewis, Texas AgriLife Associate Professor Soil Fertility and Chemistry

HIGH PLAINS REGION

Dr. Murilo Maeda, Texas AgriLife Assistant Professor and Cotton Specialist

Dr. Jourdan Bell, Texas AgriLife Associate Professor and Extension Specialist

Mr. Jeremy Brown, Farmer, Lubbock, TX

Mr. Barry Evans, Farmer, Lubbock, TX

ROLLING PLAINS REGION

Dr. Emi Kimura, Assistant Professor, Texas AgriLife Agronomist and Extension State Peanut Specialist

SOUTH TEXAS REGION

Dr. Josh McGinty, Texas AgriLife Associate Professor and Extension Specialist

SPOTLIGHT ON TEXAS

Explore the local challenges and benefits of adopting practices to improve soil health across Texas. Farmers’ experiences are compared to lessons from Texas A&M long-term study sites.

  • Managing cover crops to minimize water use
  • Improving soil moisture levels
  • Increasing soil organic matter levels
Episode 3 Date Speakers
Soil Health in Arkansas: Is it Profitable? February 16, 2021 Dr. Bill Robertson, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Cotton Agronomist

Mr. Matt Fryer, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Soil Instructor

Mr. Adam Chappell, Farmer, Cotton Plant, AR

Mr. Jess Flye, Farmer, Trumann, AR

Mr. Wes Kirkpatrick, Farmer, Dumas, AR

SPOTLIGHT ON ARKANSAS

Three cotton producers with different levels of experience related to soil health practices and activities – as well as different views about tillage and cover crops – discuss growing cotton and farming for soil health in Arkansas. This webinar dives into economic data as well.

  • Addressing resistant Palmer pigweed pressures
  • Improving water infiltration
  • Reducing crusting
  • Reducing expenses for profitability
Episode 4 Date Speakers
Improving Soil Health in a Dry Climate February 23, 2021 Dr. Jeff Mitchell, University of California, Davis

Mr. John Teixeira, Farmer, Firebaugh, CA

Mr. Gary Martin, Farmer, Mendota, CA

Mr. Cary Crum, California Ag Solutions Crop Consultant, Madera, CA

SPOTLIGHT ON CALIFORNIA

Growers in a dry climate face specific cotton production challenges as they manage for moisture and overcome low organic matter, especially if they strive to build ecologically sensitive farming systems. California producers and soil health experts evaluate the best practices that hold promise in the state.

  • Managing cover crops in an organic system
  • Using soil amendments to improve soil (poultry and compost)
Episode 5 Date Speakers
Soil Health in a Cotton and Peanut Rotation March 2, 2021 Mr. Peyton Sapp, University of Georgia, Burke County Extension Coordinator

Mr. Burton Heatwole, Farmer, Millen, GA

SPOTLIGHT ON GEORGIA

When cotton growers rotate with peanuts, they obviously navigate a less-traveled journey toward improved soil health, focusing on strategic crop rotation, best timing of cover crops, and balanced nutrient uptake. In this episode of Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase, Georgia growers discuss practices that work well in their efforts to enhance long-term sustainability.

  • Increasing soil organic matter
  • Assessing benefits of multi-species cover crops
  • Capturing more rainfall in the soil profile

 

Episode 6 Date Speakers
Soil Health: View from the Cotton Gin March 9, 2021 Mr. Robbie Waters, Edwards Cotton Company, Scotland Neck, NC

Mr. Zeb Winslow, Farmer, Scotland Neck, NC

SPOTLIGHT ON NORTH CAROLINA AND VIRGINIA

When you’ve evaluated cotton bales for years and built relationships with area cotton producers, you’re bound to have insight into which production practices pay year-after-year. In this episode, we ask a local cotton ginner to share his perspective of soil health benefits for the area’s cotton producers. Then, we talk with a local producer about his experiences, especially focusing on cover crop seeding and termination.

  • Does improving soil health impact cotton quality?
  • Planting and terminating cover crops to reduce cost and maximize benefits
Episode 7 Date Speakers
Lessons from 8 Years of Regenerative Agriculture March 16, 2021 Dr. Buz Kloot, Research Associate Professor, University of South Carolina

Mr. Doug Newton, Farmer, Clio, SC

Mr. Jason Carter, Farmer, Eastover, SC

SPOTLIGHT ON THE CAROLINAS

After multiple years of experimentation and learning from their cotton fields, these producers discuss how to maximize the impact of soil health promoting practices on their Coastal Plain soils.

  • Improving a degraded nutrient cycle
  • Increasing soil organic matter
  • Reducing resistant weed pressure
Episode 8 Date Speakers
Why Soil Health is Important to the Future of U.S. Cotton March 23, 2021 Regenerative Agriculture Leaders:

Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, Soil Health Institute

Mr. Greg Bohrer, Walmart.org

Dr. Jesse Daystar, Cotton Incorporated

 

SPOTLIGHT ON REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

This conversation asks important questions of key regenerative agriculture leaders:

  • Why are companies becoming so interested in soil health?
  • Do data support that consumers are demanding regenerative practices? Are they willing to pay more for them?
  • Will soil health and regenerative agriculture practices be mandatory in the future?
  • Will growers see any financial reimbursements or incentives?

The Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase is part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, which provides farmer-focused education and training events delivered by Soil Health Institute scientists, partnering with local soil health technical specialists and farmer mentors who have implemented successful soil health management systems. The project aims to increase the adoption of soil health management systems among cotton producers while documenting environmental and economic benefits.

Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler® brand, the VF Corporation Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. For more information about the project, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/.  To register and learn more about the virtual Farmer Showcase events, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/farmer-showcase/.

See the news release.

Two Novel Measurements Detect Differences in Soil Health Management Systems

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) announces a recent publication authored by SHI’s Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Cristine Morgan, and Research Soil Scientist, Dr. Dianna Bagnall, is now available, open source, in Soil and Tillage Research.

The study, entitled “SLAKES and 3D Scans characterize management effects on soil structure in farm fields,” investigated the impact of no-till on soil structure and hydraulic function in the Lower and Middle Brazos River Watershed of Texas using measurements of saturated hydraulic conductivity, organic carbon, bulk density, slaking index of soil aggregates (inversely related to aggregate stability), and soil structure. The research was conducted in farm fields under three management systems: conventional tillage, no-till, and perennial grass. Soil structure was measured using multistripe laser triangulation, a novel method for 3D scanning of soil surface horizons. Slaking index was measured using a recently developed smartphone application called SLAKES.

No-till adoption shifted the soil health of row crop farm fields to be more like that of perennial grass fields. Organic carbon was significantly higher in no-till compared to conventionally tilled fields and hydraulic conductivity was 1.3 cm h-1 higher in no-till. As well, soil structure measured from 10 to 30 cm depth was significantly improved in no-till compared to conventional tillage. Improvements in organic carbon and soil hydraulic function are meaningful indicators of improved soil health and can also provide ecosystem services to off-site stakeholders. The two novel measurements (3D scanning of soil structure and slaking index from a smartphone application) were particularly able to detect differences between management systems.

Access the publication now through https://authors.elsevier.com/sd/article/S0167-1987(20)30675-9