Improving soil health has been described as a journey more than a destination as each new cropping season brings a different set of challenges to address. Where can producers go to get answers to their questions about cover cropping, no-till equipment, and other soil health related activities? Fortunately, the soil health community is a very generous and supporting group, willing to share their successes and failures with any producer willing to listen. With this in mind, the U.S. Regenerative Cotton Fund (USRCF) is working to establish a “soil health farmer network” that will serve as a foundation for this information exchange.
“…the soil health community is a very generous and supporting group, willing to share their successes and failures with any producer willing to listen.”
The many benefits of soil health can only be manifested if farmers choose to adopt soil health management practices, hence the USRCF makes empowering farmers one of its core components. SHI’s past work with farmers (https://soilhealthinstitute.org/our-work/initiatives/the-healthy-soils-for-sustainable-cotton-project/) includes Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton – Virtual Field Days (13-part series), Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Webinar Series (7-part series) for farmers, and training that SHI has provided to 13,000 Certified Crop Advisors who advise on more than 205M acres (https://www.soils.org/education/online-courses/webinar-series-soil-health/ ). With learnings from these programs, the USRCF will establish and support existing and new producer-led mentoring networks comprised of producers, their advisors, local technical specialists, and SHI trainers. SHI will provide these networks with the knowledge, tools, resources, training, and continuous support they need to profitably transition to regenerative soil health management systems.
Benefits of the USRCF farmer network include:
- Participation in a soil health mentoring group that will provide a platform to ask questions or have a discussion with other producers, agronomists, and soil health technical specialists. The USRCF is identifying soil health mentors in each state who have the experience and desire to mentor new producers along their soil health journey.
- Opportunity to work with a soil health technical specialist to design a soil health management system on-farm and receive advice on cover crop selection, seeding and termination methods, and planter adjustments to ensure seeding success.
- Access to soil health assessment using in-field and lab analysis to establish current soil health status and where soil health can be improved upon.
- Participation in discussions to influence the future of regenerative cotton production and develop ideas on how the cotton industry might benefit.
If you are interested in joining the farmer mentor network as a farmer mentor, farmer participant, local technical specialist, or soil health advocate, click here.