Category Archives: News

Farmers improve soil health, increase productivity

“The Soil Health Institute estimates farmers manage some 70 percent of the land in the United States and the individual decisions they make on a daily basis influences soil, air and water quality and other natural resources.

The Soil Health Institute was launched in 2013 in Morrisville, N.C. Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the institute, said the mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. Conducting work that is economically viable and increases productivity for farmers and ranchers is vital, he said.

“Increasingly farmers are more innovative,” Honeycutt said during a forum on improving soil health at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center in Research Triangle Park Feb. 22.”


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Help Us Create a Research Site Master List

Dear Friends,

The Soil Health Institute requests your assistance in cataloging long-term (≥ 10 years) agricultural experiment sites in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Once compiled, this database will be made publicly accessible for building teams and planning agricultural research requiring inter-institutional collaboration on large scales, including soil health. Only a minimal amount of information is requested. Please submit your site’s information on the page provided by clicking here or on the button below.

Thank you for helping advance the science of soil health!


C. Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D.
President and CEO
                     Soil Health Institute


Economics of Soil Health: Key to Adoption

The current world population of approximately 7.4 billion is projected to increase to approximately 9.7 billion by 2050.  Growing enough food, while also sustaining and improving our natural resources, is one of the greatest challenges of our time.

Recently, the concept of “soil health” has captured wide-ranging interest as a focal point for simultaneously achieving food production and environmental goals.  Peer-reviewed, scientific research has in fact shown that many of the same farming/ranching practices to improve soil health can also reduce nutrient losses to ground- and surface water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce erosion, increase yield, suppress plant diseases, and provide pollinator and other wildlife habitat.  However, we must recognize that farmers and ranchers are not only land stewards, but are also business men and women.  Therefore, the economics of soil health-promoting practices play a critical role in their adoption.

There are several aspects of economics that can influence land management decisions.

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The Progressive Farmer: Underground Movement – 1

“It’s not hard to find a soil-health or cover-crop field day. Someone usually has a spade showing off earthworms and their tunnel work. There’s generally a 6-foot-deep pit to look at the root systems, filtration and soil compaction.

What’s missing, though, is data about whether cover crops and other soil-health practices actually pay. The science of penciling out the economics of such practices is still in the early stages. However, groups are working to document what soil health means to a farmer’s bottom line.”

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Iowa Farmer Today: Corn growers urged to improve soil health

“Soil quality is a hot topic in crop production circles these days, with farmers digging more vigorously into the dirt beneath their feet to find answers about what kind of shape it’s in.

That’s why the South Dakota Corn Growers chose to devote a couple hours of the organization’s annual meeting, held recently at the Sioux Falls Convention Center, to a discussion of soil health.

The session featured three experts on soil health who shared their perspectives about what producers can do to improve the bottom line while acting as good stewards of the land.

Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, made a connection with the audience in a down-to-earth presentation that focused on basic concerns of growers.

Honeycutt said better soil health improves crop performance, giving farmers a “fighting chance” to produce the ever-increasing amount of food needed by an increasing world population; increases producers’ ability to handle extreme weather events, from drought to excessive rainfall; and helps keep a rising tide of unwanted governmental regulations at bay.”

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Soil Health: Critical for Farmers, the Environment and Global Food Security

“Spanning across southern Minnesota from the South Dakota border in the west to the Wisconsin border in the east, Minnesota’s First Congressional District is home to some of the most productive agricultural land in America. Here you’ll find fertile soil, rich with nutrients that support the growth of a wide variety of crops.

In my district, like many others throughout the United States, farmers are the backbone of our economy. There are no better stewards of the land than those who depend on it for their livelihoods and the livelihoods of their families. As policymakers and those interested in both economic growth and environmental conservation, (while meeting the needs of a growing population) we need to ensure that the sound policies are in place to help support farmers and others working hard to be good stewards of the land. And good stewardship starts with healthy soil.”

– Congressman Tim Walz, MN


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