Soil Health Institute Announces Agenda for “Scaling Up Soil Health” Virtual Annual Meeting

For Immediate Release

Morrisville, North Carolina – July 28, 2022. The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has released the agenda for its upcoming annual meeting to be held virtually on Aug. 11-12. Attendees at this year’s annual meeting of the Soil Health Institute can expect a content-rich program ranging from scientific results to their translation and implementation, all designed to increase on-farm and environmental benefits by “Scaling Up Soil Health.” 

The keynote presentation for this year’s meeting will be provided by Jane Ewing, Senior Vice-President for Sustainability, Walmart. This presentation will be followed by a session entitled “Engaging Commodities for Scaling Adoption of Regenerative Soil Health Systems in Cotton.” In this session, which features three panel discussions, participants will learn about the tactics different organizations and individuals are using to bring on-farm and environmental benefits of soil health to scale. 

In the first panel, farmers will discuss the challenges they encountered and overcame when adopting regenerative soil health systems in different soils and climates. In the second panel, leaders from Ralph Lauren, Walmart Foundation, VF Corporation, and Levi Strauss & Co. will discuss how they are supporting farmers in adopting soil health practices to achieve societal, environmental, and other goals. Insights into supply chain standards to further connect the market for fiber grown using soil health systems will be provided by a third panel of leaders from the Textile Exchange; Cotton, Inc.; U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol; and 2050.cloud. 

Highlighting the afternoon of Aug. 11 is “Climate Change Mitigation through Soil Health,” a session that discusses current programs ranging from local to global initiatives. This session will include a presentation by SHI on comparing strategies for assessing soil carbon stocks. Lessons learned from implementing such strategies at a regional scale will be described by Truterra, while programs to address climate change through soil health at the national scale will be presented by leaders from USDA-NRCS and Dairy Management, Inc. The session will close with a presentation on the “4 per 1000 Initiative,” which uses soil health to address food security and climate goals at a global scale.  

Recommended Measurements of Soil Health for North America 

On Day Two of the meeting (Aug. 12), scientists from SHI will present results of a 3-year, $6.5-million project to assess and identify the most effective measurements of soil health. Management impacts on the carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle, water cycle, and soil microbiome will be presented, culminating in an announcement of the Institute’s recommended measurements for assessing soil health across North America and beyond.  

That afternoon, a panel on “Creating Impactful Learning Opportunities in Soil Health Education Programs” will be led by one of SHI’s soil health educators. Panelists ranging from a farmer to a university educator to a Regional Director of USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program will share their experiences and creative techniques for increasing effectiveness of soil health education programs.  

Registration is free but required to participate. Continuing Education Credits will be offered. Register here

About the Soil Health Institute 

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. 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 clean environment, and improve human health and well-being. Accordingly, the Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society. The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, soil microbiome, farmer/adviser education, ecosystem services, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The team follows a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems. 

Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more, and follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 


Soil Health Institute Announces Five Strategic Goals

For Immediate Release

Morrisville, North Carolina – July 12, 2022. The Soil Health Institute today announced five strategic goals it is pursuing to address climate change, regenerative agriculture, water resources, farmer empowerment, and consumer demand + policy. 

By 2050, the world’s agricultural systems will need to support another 2 billion people. Yet, in the last century, soils have lost 40-60% of the basic building block that makes them productive (organic carbon). The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are estimated to be as high as $85 billion every year. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached the highest level ever recorded and are continuing to increase. Scientists predict drought to increase from impacting 1% of the world’s arable land to over 30% by the end of the century due to climate change. Approximately 80% of U.S. rivers and streams are in only fair to poor biological condition due to nutrient runoff and other contaminants.  

“We are at a critical juncture in human history where we must address these challenges, and soil health is the framework to do just that,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute.  

Research shows that improving soil health in agricultural systems increases carbon sequestration, reduces GHG emissions, increases drought resilience, enhances water quality, boosts crop yield, increases nutrient availability, and suppresses many plant diseases. Yet today, only 5% of cropland in the U.S. is managed using the basic soil health practice of cover cropping. Adoption is hindered by gaps in information on the economic benefits of soil health practices, lack of scientific knowledge on how healthy a given soil can become and what that means for land managers and the environment, and a scarcity of locally relevant resources and mentoring networks for farmers.  

To address these issues, the Soil Health Institute is pursuing the following strategic goals: 

Climate Change: Provide the soil science knowledge and tactics needed for agriculture to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions. 

Regenerative Agriculture: Provide the scientific leadership for understanding, managing, and measuring soil health systems contributing to regenerative land management in agriculture and other ecosystems. 

Water Resources: Provide the soil science knowledge and tactics needed for improving water quality and quantity with soil health systems. 

Farmer Empowerment: Provide farmers with the information they need when selecting and implementing soil health systems to be profitable, resilient, and environmentally sound. 

Consumer Demand + Policy: Provide the science, metrics, information, and partnerships that will inform consumer demand and policies for food, fiber, feed, and fuel grown using soil health systems. 

“Bold challenges require bold action,” said Dr. Honeycutt, “so we will use cross-cutting tactics that allow us to tackle several strategic goals simultaneously. For example, we believe land managers will be motivated to improve soil health once they learn how healthy their soils can become and what that means for increasing drought resilience, nutrient availability, and profitability.”  

To address this gap, the Institute is establishing “Soil Health Targets” that will illustrate to farmers, ranchers, and their advisers how healthy their soils are and how healthy they can become. Because organic matter is an important soil health measurement, this will also provide farmers with an assessment of how much carbon their soils can store. Different soils have different capacities to store carbon.   

“These science-based targets will empower farmers with the information they need when considering new management practices that will simultaneously reduce GHG emissions, build drought resilience, improve water quality, increase profitability, and meet the growing consumer demand for food and fiber grown using regenerative soil health systems,” said Dr. Honeycutt. 

For more information, please contact Byron Rath, brath@soilhealthinstitute.org, or visit the Soil Health Institute’s website at https://soilhealthinstitute.org/our-strategy/.  

About the Soil Health Institute 

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. 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 clean environment, and improve human health and well-being. Accordingly, the Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society. The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, soil microbiome, farmer/adviser education, ecosystem services, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The team follows a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems, as briefly described in this 5-minute video

Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more, and follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. 


The Soil Health Institute Announces its Virtual 2022 Annual Meeting: “Scaling Up Soil Health”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Research Triangle Park, NC, June 15, 2022 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, announced today that “Scaling Up Soil Health” is the theme for its 7th annual meeting to be held virtually on August 11 and 12. 

“’Scaling Up Soil Health’, reflects both the urgency and opportunity for scaling adoption of regenerative soil health systems to mitigate climate change, improve water quality, sustain farms and rural communities, and bring widespread environmental benefits for all of us,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. 

Over the course of two days, an abundance of practical information, research, and actionable takeaways will be offered that is relevant to farmers, agribusiness, consultants, scientists, field conservationists, government, and non-governmental professionals around the world.  

Plenary sessions will address: 

  • Farmers’ Experiences with Regenerative Soil Health Systems 
  • Engaging Commodities for Scaling Regenerative Soil Health Systems 
  • Climate Change Mitigation through Soil Health: Integrating Local to Global Initiatives 
  • SHI’s Recommended Measurements for Scaling Soil Health Assessments: Scientific Basis and Practical Application 
  • Creating Impactful Learning Opportunities in Soil Health Education Programs 

Each day, sessions will run from 10 a.m. to noon EDT, break for an hour, then resume from 1-3 p.m. EDT.

Registration is free but required to participate. You may register here: https://soilhealthinstitute-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i0ykVel5SGCbZNeag8NrLw.

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.  

###

FOR INFORMATION: 

Byron Rath +1-919-230-0343 

brath@soilhealthinstitute.org


Soil Health Institute Engages Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Promote Greater Equity in Sustainable Agriculture Through Internship Program

Students Hail From Alcorn State University, Fort Valley State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, and University of Minnesota Twin Cities

For Immediate Release

Morrisville, North Carolina – June 13, 2022 – The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today announced the first U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) internship class. The USRCF Internship Program is dedicated to establishing career paths for underrepresented students, empowering them to obtain decision-making positions in U.S. agriculture. Launched with a founding grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation in 2021 as an ambitious effort to put growers at the center of creating a sustainable future for U.S. cotton production, the USRCF is a farmer-facing, science-based initiative to support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2026.

“We are pleased to announce this inaugural class of interns for the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund,” said Dr. Loutrina Staley, soil scientist and director of diversity, equity, and inclusion at the Soil Health Institute. “These students are the future of agriculture. They will be an integral part of our work to stand up the USRCF. At the Soil Health Institute, we are deeply committed to current and future generations, and empowering historically underrepresented communities.”

“As a founding member of the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund, it was important to us to champion equity in the program and create opportunities for Black students in climate-smart, regenerative agriculture,” said Roseann Lynch, Ralph Lauren Corporation’s Chief People Officer and Head of the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation. “We look forward to welcoming this inaugural class of talented students into this important work.”

Since its launch, the USRCF has been recognized as an AIM for Climate Innovation Sprint Partner at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference, and has received additional support from industry leaders, including the VF Foundation, which has joined the USRCF as a Sustaining Supporter, and Levi Strauss & Co, which has joined as a Contributing Supporter.

“We are proud to support the USRCF and the expansion of the Soil Health Institute’s Internship Program to advance diversity and inclusion in sustainable agriculture,” said Gloria Schoch, Executive Director, The VF Foundation and Director of Global Impact, VF Corporation. “Providing access and education to students enrolled in HBCUs to help them excel in their careers is vital to successfully expand regenerative practices and ultimately mitigate climate change.”

The 2022 summer intern class includes scholars from Alcorn State University, Fort Valley State University, North Carolina A&T State University, and University of Minnesota Twin Cities. In addition, a student from Prairie View A&M University is returning to the Institute as an employee after serving as an intern in 2021. All students will work alongside SHI scientists and educators in one or more programs, including Soil Health and Carbon Targets, Soil Health Education, Soil Microbiome Research, and Soil Health Economics. As part of their internship, students will engage cotton farmers, advisors, and other stakeholders to increase adoption of regenerative soil health systems in an effort to bring resilience and profitability benefits to farmers, while also seeking to mitigate climate change and promote other environmental benefits.

To learn more about the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund and the Internship Program, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/usrcf/ or contact Byron Rath at brath@soilhealthinstitute.org.

Meet the 2022 Summer Interns and Employees:

  • Ronnie Bernard is an undergraduate student majoring in agriculture with a concentration in environmental science at Alcorn State University. He has received various scholarships from the university, is a member of the 1890 Scholars Program and a Cargill Thrive Scholar awardee. Mr. Bernard plans to become an environmental scientist.
  • Ahmad Harden is an undergraduate student majoring in agricultural economics at Fort Valley State University, where he is a Presidential Student Ambassador and a “Blue Coat” Ambassador, assisting with the university’s advancement program. Mr. Harden was awarded a full academic scholarship from USDA and plans to become an agricultural economist.
  • Jordan Kelly is an undergraduate student majoring in sustainable land management and food systems at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. She is a member of MANNRS, Future Farmers of America, and a Norman E. Borlaug Scholar awardee. Ms. Kelly plans to become an environmental scientist.
  • Tiffany LaShae is a graduate student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, where she is conducting a study integrating soil health and soil stories of African American farmers in the Southeast U.S. Tiffany is a farmer, activist and educator with over 10 years of experience working with farmers in the U.S. and abroad. She currently manages a small, diversified vegetable/seed production farm that demonstrates soil health practices and provides hands-on education for beginning farmers. Tiffany’s work also includes collaborative projects addressing inequities in farmer resource utilization and access with the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service, and in climate smart agriculture efforts with USAID farmer-to-farmer organizations based in Africa.
  • Quanteria Randle is an undergraduate student majoring in biology at Prairie View A&M University. In 2021, Ms. Randle interned with SHI’s Soil Microbiome Scientist, Dr. Elizabeth Rieke, analyzing phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) data from soils sampled across North America. She presented those results at the American Society of Agronomy & Soil Science Society of America international meeting in Salt Lake City, UT. Ms. Randle plans to become a soil microbiologist.
  • Jhacolby Williams is an undergraduate student majoring in agriculture with a concentration in environmental science at Alcorn State University. Mr. Williams, a member of the Honors Program and Future Farmers of America, has a full scholarship from the university. He plans to become an environmental scientist.

About the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund

The USRCF is a unique, farmer-facing, science-based initiative of the Soil Health Institute that supports long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from the atmosphere by 2026. The Fund was initiated with a founding grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation in 2021. Since its launch, the VF Foundation and Levi Strauss & Co. have joined the USRCF as Sustaining and Contributing Partners, respectively. Participating partners currently include Cotton Incorporated, National Cotton Council, and Field to Market.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. 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 clean environment, and improve human health and well-being. Accordingly, the Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society. The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, soil microbiome, farmer/adviser education, ecosystem services, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The team follows a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems, as briefly described in this 5-minute video.

Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more, and follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation

The Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation works to make the dream of a better life reality by championing equity and empowering underserved communities around the world. Established in 2001, the Foundation is committed to making a difference across its core areas of focus: supporting cancer care and prevention, protecting the environment, fostering advocacy & access and strengthening community resilience. It hopes to deliver meaningful change in its communities through its nonprofit partnerships, investments and volunteering programs. For more information, please visit: https://corporate.ralphlauren.com/foundation-1.

About the VF Foundation

The VF Foundation is the private grantmaking organization funded by VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with iconic outdoor, active and workwear brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland®, Smartwool®, JanSport® and Dickies®. With its partners, The VF Foundation strives to innovate and problem-solve in collaborative ways to drive transformative, lasting change with the vision of creating a more equitable and sustainable world. Established in 2002, the Foundation has granted nearly $60 million globally to meaningfully improve the communities where VF operates. It’s committed to driving movements for the betterment of people and the planet across its key strategic pillars: championing Worthy Work, embracing Outside Matters, empowering creativity and self-expression as we are Free to Be, and supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery. Learn more at https://www.vfc.com/responsibility/the-vf-foundation.

About Levi Strauss & Co.

Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.) is one of the world’s largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The Company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™, Denizen®, Dockers® and Beyond Yoga® brands. Its products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide through a combination of chain retailers, department stores, online sites, and a global footprint of approximately 3,100 retail stores and shop-in-shops. Levi Strauss & Co.’s reported 2021 net revenues were $5.8 billion. For more information, go to http://levistrauss.com, and for financial news and announcements go to http://investors.levistrauss.com.

Media Contacts
Soil Health Institute
Lauren Rivers
shi@riversagency.com

Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation
Communications
RL-Press@ralphlauren.com

VF Foundation
Colin Wheeler
Vice President,
Corporate Affairs & Communications
Colin_wheeler@vfc.com

Levi Strauss & Co Media Contact
Kylie Grader
newsmediarequests@levi.com


VF Foundation Joins U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund

Morrisville, NC, April 11, 2022. The VF Foundation announced today that it will join the Soil Health Institute’s (SHI) U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) as a Sustaining Supporter. The USRCF is a unique, farmer-facing, science-based initiative designed to support long-term, sustainable cotton production in the United States, with the goal of eliminating one million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2026.

“The VF Foundation is excited to continue its support of the Soil Health Institute and join the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund,” said Gloria Schoch, Executive Director, The VF Foundation and Director of Global Impact, VF Corporation. “This initiative complements our corporate efforts to advance regenerative agricultural practices by taking a farmer-centric approach to scale these practices and measure their impacts when growing cotton, a key material used by VF brands and across the apparel industry.”

The VF Foundation’s support of the USRCF directly contributes to the Institute’s efforts in Texas, where approximately 60% of U.S. cotton is grown. Support will help establish farmer-to-farmer mentoring networks, conduct economic analysis of regenerative soil health systems, increase access and opportunity for minority students in scientific leadership positions, and establish Soil Health and Soil Carbon Targets so growers know how healthy their soils can become and how much carbon they can draw down. In 2019, VF Corporation set ambitious science-based targets and is committed to sourcing 100 percent of its top 9 materials from regenerative, responsibly sourced renewable or recycled sources by 2030, as a key pathway to achieve its climate goals.

“We are grateful for The VF Foundation’s past support that served as a catalyst for establishing the USRCF to assist cotton farmers and their advisors across the U.S. with building resilience to drought and mitigating the effects of climate change,” said Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer and leader of the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund. “Widespread adoption of regenerative agricultural practices is hindered by lack of information on the business case, locally relevant education programs and grower networks, and locally established Soil Health and Carbon Targets. These measures can arm growers with specific knowledge to demonstrate how much their soil health can improve and how that healthier soil can translate into drought resilience, yield stability, profitability, and drive additional benefits.”

The USRCF works to unite the interests of farmers, partners, and financial supporters around soil health as the foundation for regenerative agriculture. The Fund was initiated in 2021 with a founding grant from the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation to the Soil Health Institute.

Participating partners of the Fund include Cotton Incorporated, National Cotton Council, and Field to Market.

To learn more about the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/usrcf/ or contact Byron Rath at brath@soilhealthinstitute.org.

About the VF Foundation

The VF Foundation is the private grantmaking organization funded by VF Corporation, one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with iconic brands including Vans®, The North Face®, Timberland®, Smartwool®, JanSport® and Dickies®. With its partners, The VF Foundation strives to innovate and problem-solve in collaborative ways to drive transformative, lasting change with the vision of creating a more equitable and sustainable world. Established in 2002, the Foundation has granted nearly $60 million globally to meaningfully improve the communities where VF operates. It’s committed to driving movements for the betterment of people and the planet across its key strategic pillars: championing Worthy Work, embracing Outside Matters, empowering creativity and self-expression as we are Free to Be, and supporting Disaster Relief and Recovery. Learn more at https://www.vfc.com/responsibility/the-vf-foundation.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. The Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society. The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, farmer and adviser education, ecosystem services, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The Institute’s programs are guided by a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems, as briefly described in this 5-minute video. Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more, and follow us on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

For media inquiries, contact Rivers Agency: info@riversagency.com
(919.932.9985)


Impact of Agricultural Inputs on Soil Health: Assessing Farmer Interest

Morrisville, NC, April 8, 2022. Farmers around the world are increasingly focused on improving the health of their soils. This interest is well-placed because healthy soils generally have more plant-available nutrients, are more drought resilient, more disease suppressive, and more profitable. Management systems that improve soil health also benefit the environment by sequestering more carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing nutrient runoff and leaching, and even providing habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. As more farmers invest to improve the health of their soils, questions are arising as to how agricultural inputs impact soil health.

To assess the level of farmers’ interest in this topic, the Soil Health Institute partnered with Trust In Food™, Farm Journal’s sustainable ag division, in using a combination of survey questions, analysis of published content, and tracking farmers’ engagement with articles on the topic posted to AgWeb. The survey was sent to 10,000 U.S. farmers who operate at least 100 acres and included:

  • 3,500 corn/soybean farmers,
  • 3,500 wheat/barley/oat farmers,
  • 1,500 cotton/peanut farmers, and
  • 1,500 fruit/vegetable (specialty crop) farmers.

Notably, 66% of respondents said they are interested in the impact of agricultural inputs on soil health. When those farmers were asked to rate their interest in the effects of manures, pesticides, biologicals, or fertilizers; 62% responded that they are interested in all of those inputs.

Analyzing the level of information consumed by a random sample of 10,000 AgWeb users showed that those farmers who are interested in both agricultural inputs and soil health consume 34% more digital information than the whole group, operate 446 more acres, and have a median income $144,410 greater than the whole group. In addition, 45% of these farmers are early adopters of conservation practices (which is 25% higher than the entire group).

“This analysis clearly shows that many farmers are interested in how different agricultural inputs impact the health of their soils,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “To serve these farmers, our next step is to assess the state of the science so we can determine what is currently known and identify any critical gaps that need to be addressed.”

The full report can be found here.

About the Soil Health Institute
The Soil Health Institute is a global non-profit with a mission of safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils through scientific research and advancement. The Institute brings together leaders in soil health science and the industry to conduct research and empower farmers and other landowners with the knowledge to successfully adopt regenerative soil health systems that contribute economic and environmental benefits to agriculture and society.

The Institute’s scientific team holds doctorates in various soil science and related disciplines, with specialties in carbon cycling, nutrient cycling, water cycling, nutrient management, soil microbiome, farmer training, education, GIS, ecosystem service modeling, soil-plant relationships, on-farm economics, and others. The team follows a comprehensive strategy for advancing adoption of regenerative soil health systems, as briefly described in this 5-minute video.

Healthy soils are the foundation for restoring our land. Together, we can create a secure future for all, mitigate the effects of climate change, and help farmers and organizations meet production and environmental goals at scale. Visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedInTwitter, and Facebook.

About Trust In Food

Trust In Food is a purpose-driven division of Farm Journal dedicated to mainstreaming and accelerating the transition to more sustainable and regenerative ag practices, making every dollar invested in conservation agriculture more impactful. We bring business intelligence to agricultural production behavior change: helping farmers understand, want, and feel capable of undertaking practice change through data science, social research and strategic communications deployed through the omnichannel Farm Journal platform in collaboration with our partners. Visit www.trustinfood.com to learn more.

For media inquiries, contact Rivers Agency:
info@riversagency.com
(919.932.9985)


SHI Teams with The Gadfly Project to Bring Novel Tool to Improve Drought Resilience in Agriculture

The Gadfly Project is proud to announce it has awarded a Q4 2021 in-kind climate grant to the Soil Health Institute to develop an application called the Drought Resilience Calculator. This free, web-based decision support tool will enable growers, advisors, consultants, and other agricultural stakeholders to calculate how much more water their soil can store by increasing the carbon in it. This application is based on a novel algorithm developed by the Soil Health Institute and is planned to be released in June 2022.

About The Gadfly Project

The Gadfly Project‘s actions are guided by values. We believe in the importance of a sustainable future and environmental responsibility. Through technology, we are dedicated to protecting the environment and our people. We are steadfast in the belief that we can combat global climate change while simultaneously encouraging job growth. As technological advances are made daily, it becomes more and more apparent that technology can and will be a vital instrument for saving our planet. Our organization is committed to being a part of that movement. We are making available in-kind grants for organizations seeking to implement a software initiative in the fields of environmental protection and climate change mitigation. This grant is available to organizations both international and domestic with a focus on environmental protection and sustainability. The project should be used to either benefit the environment or advance the organization’s capacity to do so.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global 501(c)(3) 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 Soil Health Institute to learn more and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook


Soil Health Institute Receives Grant from Wells Fargo to Develop DNA Sequence Based Indicators of Soil Health

FEBRUARY 15, 2022 – MORRISVILLE, NC – The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, announced funding today from Wells Fargo to identify microbial indicators of optimal carbon cycling and storage in soil.

“Increases in carbon storage following adoption of regenerative soil health systems can take years to distinguish,” Dr. Elizabeth Rieke, Soil Microbiome Scientist for the Soil Health Institute said. “Our goal is to develop microbial indicators that allow stakeholders to observe how management decisions impact their potential to transform and build soil organic carbon stocks.”

The work will utilize metagenomic and carbon data collected as part of the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements. “Most carbon inputs from crop residues and root exudates must be transformed by microbial community members prior to stabilizing in the soil profile,” explained Dr. Rieke. “However, currently adopted indicators of carbon cycling in soil rely on disturbed soil samples, whose measures are difficult to relate back to in-field dynamics. Development of DNA based indicators will provide an opportunity to directly describe a soil’s functional potential to cycle carbon.”

Establishing genomic indicators of carbon cycling is the first step in the Institute’s goal of creating a suite of DNA based soil health indicators capable of describing a multitude of different soil functions. “Most currently utilized soil health indicators only relate to a single function, which has led to the development of numerous indicators. We believe that several soil functions can be tracked through analysis of a single DNA extract. Our goal is to identify genes of interest through metagenomic sequencing and then optimize direct quantification of the genes using high throughput qPCR performed on DNA we extracted from soils with known management histories across North America.”

Providing farmers low cost, easily interoperable indicators aids in the Institute’s goal of establishing regional soil health and carbon targets. “To measure soil health at scale, we must consider indicator return on investment. Defining a core suite of genes related to different, currently unreported, soil functions is a cost-effective approach for measuring soil health at scale,” said Rieke.

“In addition to benefits related to improving crop yields and the nutritional quality of the food we grow, soil health is a critical factor in sequestering greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said Jennivine Kwan, Sustainability Strategist for Wells Fargo’s Institute of Sustainable Finance. “As one of the top lenders to the agriculture sector, we are proud to support the efforts of the Soil Health Institute to develop easy-to-use, easy-to-understand techniques for measuring soil health to benefit famers and their communities, increase carbon storage by the sector, and reduce its environmental impact.”

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute is a global 501(c)(3) 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 www.soilhealthinstitute.org to learn more and follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a leading financial services company that has approximately $1.9 trillion in assets, proudly serves one in three U.S. households and more than 10% of small businesses in the U.S., and is the leading middle market banking provider in the U.S. We provide a diversified set of banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through our four reportable operating segments: Consumer Banking and Lending, Commercial Banking, Corporate and Investment Banking, and Wealth & Investment Management. Wells Fargo ranked No. 37 on Fortune’s 2021 rankings of America’s largest corporations. In the communities we serve, the company focuses its social impact on building a sustainable, inclusive future for all by supporting housing affordability, small business growth, financial health, and a low-carbon economy. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

Additional information may be found at www.wellsfargo.com | Twitter: @WellsFargo

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