How These Startups Are Improving Soil Health
There’s increased pressure being placed on farmers to improve crop yields in order to feed a booming global population. But increasing those yields has become harder in the past few decades, which have seen increasing degradation of the health of an essential component of agriculture: the soil itself. That declining health is in large part due to a loss of organic matter in the soil – decomposing plants, microbes, and other essential parts of the ecosystem.
“In many of the soils that we’re dependent on, we’ve lost 40-60% of its organic matter,” explained Dr. Wayne Honeycutt of the Soil Health Institute. “That’s important because it’s critical for water holding, filtration in soil, and enhancing nutrient availability.”
There’s hope on the horizon, though. In recent years, a number of startups have emerged to improve the health of soil – in the process helping farmers and ranchers improve yields and save money.
“There’s a great opportunity here,” explained Honeycutt. “When you look to improve soil health, it’s beneficial for farmers and the environment. When you can increase that soil organic carbon by 1%, you increase capacity to hold water from 2500 to 12000 gallons per acre. That means a lot for farmers’ and ranchers’ ability to withstand drought and stay in business.”
Here’s a look at just a few of the new startups moving into the space of soil health.