Economics

Soil Health Business Case

Farmers and ranchers are business men and women, and the questions that often present the most significant barrier to adoption of soil health management systems pertain to the business case. Will these practices increase or reduce my profitability? Will they increase or reduce my economic risk?

The most desirable information on how soil health affects profitability comes from real-world, on-farm data. However, a challenge is that every farm is different, making it difficult to know how repeatable results are from one farm to another. Insight into how reproducible results are across different soils, climate zones, and production systems can be obtained with replicated research plots; recognizing that research plots are very different from farms. Consequently, the Institute is using a two-pronged approach for assessing profitability of soil health systems where the reality experienced by farmers is supplemented by results from nearby research sites. In each case, the Institute uses partial budget analysis as the tool for comparing expenses and returns in a soil health management system compared to a conventional management system.