Soil Health Partnership Educates Hill Staffers on Soil Health

(Posted Fri. Nov 22nd, 2019)

Keywords: SHP

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) and the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) today co-hosted a field day for U.S. Senate and House Agriculture Committee staff at Harborview Farms in Rock Hall, Md. Staffers had the opportunity to learn more about soil health management practices being implemented at Harborview Farms.   “This field day was a unique opportunity for legislative staffers to see first-hand the benefits and challenges farmers face adopting soil health practices. Farmers across the country invest in these practices because they believe in the indirect and long-term benefits such as healthy soils for their future generations, creating increased land resiliency and knowing they are giving back to the land that sustains us. It is an important story to tell, and we are thrilled to have legislative partners attend these educational events,“ John Mesko, senior director of SHP said.   Practices that improve soil health are taking on elevated importance as a means to...

Cover Crops Offer a Jackpot of Benefits to the Environment and Your Bottom Line

(Posted Fri. Sep 27th, 2019)

Keywords: SHP

  “In the farming community “cover crop” is a buzzword, and for a good reason. Adding a cover crop to your farm means you are extending the amount of time there is something growing in that soil and that adds many other benefits,” according to Lisa Kubik, a field manager with the Soil Health Partnership.   The obvious benefit is improved soil health, but what does that really mean? Improving soil health increases porosity, water holding capacity and builds the structure within the soil. With more pores within the soil, your crop’s roots are better able to proliferate and establish a good root system to support the plant throughout the entire growing season, she says in a new blog.   More pore spaces also mean that when the weather turns dry, the soil has a pore structure waiting to soak in the rainfall and store it until your crops are in need. With that water-absorbing better within the soil, this also reduces the chance for ponding or flooding within the field which could...

Teeter Joins SHP as Minnesota Field Manager

(Posted Tue. Aug 27th, 2019)

Keywords: SHP Sustainability Conservation

Anna Teeter is SHP’s newest team member, joining as a Field Manager covering Minnesota. Anna most recently received her master’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Department of Soil Science. Her thesis evaluated preserving nitrogen from fall-applied dairy manure using nitrapyrin, a nitrification inhibitor, in combination with spring wheat as a fall cover crop.    “Anna is a great addition to the SHP Field Manager team. Her extensive experience working with diverse farming operations will bring a great perspective to Minnesota farmers,” commented SHP Field Team Director, Jack Cornell. Anna received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison double majoring in Agronomy and Life Science Communication. Throughout her undergrad, Anna worked with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Forage Extension Specialist and gained experience working with a diverse group of farming operations. Additionally, Anna served as a Crop Scout at Tilth...

Soil Health Partnership Celebrates 5 Years of Growth and Collaboration

(Posted Thu. Aug 1st, 2019)

Keywords: SHP Conservation Sustainability

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) has been fostering transformation in agriculture through improved soil health since 2014. This year, SHP celebrates its fifth anniversary and the foundational collaborations that developed the program.   SHP was founded by a diverse group of organizations with a shared vision of developing a farmer-led research network to measure the impacts of implementing soil health practices on working farms. The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Bayer, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), alongside the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), came together to see this vision through. This program was based upon work supported by the National Resources Conservation Service, U.S Department of Agriculture.   “We are proud of the collaboration led to SHP’s establishment. That collaboration has continued to grow and evolve with many partners, bringing dynamic perspectives to the table. We would not be where we are today without our founding partners sharing the...

SHP Soil Sessions: Crop Update and Scouting Tips

(Posted Fri. Jul 19th, 2019)

Keywords: SHP Conservation Sustainability

You still have time to sign up for a unique webinar to get a U.S. crop update and learn crop scouting techniques and strategies. The Soil Health Partnership sponsored event will be held July 30, 2019 at 11 a.m. EST / 10 a.m. CST.   During the session discussion will revolve around:   How to scout fields with cover crops during planting What to expect with a late harvest? Drone scouting techniques and strategies   If you are unable to join live, please still register. A recording of the webinar will be shared with all registrants so you can listen any time. You can register here.

SHP Testifies in Support of Investment and Collaboration in Soil Health Practices

(Posted Tue. Jun 25th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability SHP

The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) Executive Director, Dr. Shefali Mehta testified today at a House Agriculture, Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry hearing in support of investment in soil health practices.   The SHP, a program of the National Corn Growers Association, is a farmer-led effort that has built a network of over 220 farmers in 15 states and over 100 partner organizations at the federal, state and county levels over the past five years.    “Our partner farmers work with us over five years to measure the impacts of the practice change. We measure basic soil macro- and micronutrients every year on the field, as well as soil health indicators every other year. Through this process, we are creating an in-depth data set from which to support farmers’ decisions and to understand the long-term changes in soil health over time. We look for impacts on yield, input use, and the farmer’s profitability,” explained Dr. Mehta.   “The farmers we work with are exceptional...

Mesko joins SHP as Development Director

(Posted Wed. Jun 19th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability SHP

The Soil Health Partnership is pleased to announce that John Mesko has joined as the Development Director, bringing vision and a breadth of experience to the SHP team.   Mesko grew up on a diversified crop and livestock farm in Minnesota, gaining a passion for farming and tremendous respect for farmers.  After graduating from Purdue University with a bachelor's degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in agricultural economics, Mesko’s diverse career in agriculture has centered around helping farmers become more financially and environmentally sustainable.    He served as a sales agronomist and technical information manager for Mycogen Seeds. As a County Extension Director for Purdue University, his work centered on farm management and developing new markets for farmers. In addition to raising and selling grass-fed beef and lamb for a dozen years, John has led two sustainability-minded nonprofits: The Sustainable Farming Association and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable...

Byerly Joins SHP as Kansas & Nebraska Field Manager

(Posted Wed. Jun 19th, 2019)

Keywords: Conservation Sustainability SHP

Keith Byerly has joined the Soil Health Partnership as the Kansas and Nebraska Field Manager. Byerly brings a broad set of experiences and expertise to this role.     “I am really impressed with Byerly’s experience of communicating his agronomic knowledge to the growers in his region across various platforms,” said SHP Field Team Director, Jack Cornell. “SHP is dedicated to continually helping farmers make more informed decisions to become more productive in their operations, and Byerly is going to help us provide Kansas and Nebraska farmers with local support.”   Byerly graduated with a degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2001 and has been a Certified Crop Advisor since 2002. Byerly spent the last eighteen years working for a cooperative that served multiple states out of Nebraska. For fifteen years, he has been a precision ag manager focusing on data services, prescriptions and hardware.  Raised on the edge of the Nebraska Sandhills, Byerly holds a...

U.S. Farmers Should Take a Bow on World Environment Day

(Posted Wed. Jun 5th, 2019)

Keywords: Sustainability Conservation SHP

Today is World Environment Day and for U.S. farmers that makes it a great time to celebrate their success in modernizing agriculture and make it more environmentally sustainable. Improved soil management like no till and use of cover crops, precision farming tactics that better utilize nutrients and pesticides, and reducing trips across fields reduces fuel use and air pollution.   This list could go on, but suffice it to say, caring for the planet is vital to our survival. As caretakers of massive tracts of land farmers play a key role in improving our environment and they take this responsibility seriously.   From the Soil Health Partnership, which is building new soil for future generations; to the Take Action initiative that is constantly educating farmers on the latest and best ways to use crop products like herbicides and pesticides; to our efforts to save honey bees and Monarch butterflies, NCGA is working hard to keep farming profitable and assure environmental...

Two new field managers join Soil Health Partnership team
Illinois, Indiana staff additions aid expansion of data collection program

(Posted Wed. Dec 13th, 2017)

Keywords: Soil Health Partnership SHP

Two new field managers have joined the Soil Health Partnership, a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Abigail Peterson and Alex Fiock will help manage the growing number of farmers enrolled in the program in Illinois and Indiana.   “As we have expanded to 111 farms in 12 states a year ahead of schedule, our need for additional staff has grown as well,” said SHP Director Nick Goeser. “We welcome Abigail and Alex to the partnership and look forward to their expertise and enthusiasm.”   SHP field managers help new farmers get started in the program with identifying the practices that will work best for them to improve soil health on their farms, and assist with implementation, soil sampling, and education. Common practices changed on the farm include the use of cover crops, conservation tillage and advanced nutrient management. Field managers also help organize, attend and offer presentations at field days. Their...

Project to develop model for large-scale greenhouse gas reduction incentives

(Posted Fri. Sep 9th, 2016)

Keywords: Sustainability SHP Soil Health Partnership

A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help spur a groundbreaking effort to optimize farm enterprise profitability, reduce Greenhouse Gases and improve agronomic productivity. The National Corn Growers Association received the grant to develop a system for scalable carbon accounting in agriculture, to be developed through its Soil Health Partnership initiative.   Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this year's Conservation Innovation Grant recipients on September 8. The competitive grant "stimulates the development and adoption of innovative approaches and technologies for conservation on agricultural land."   Under the NCGA project, the SHP and other project partners will develop a "greenhouse gas insetting framework." The framework will serve as a model for corporations and other entities to drive conservation adoption and achieve GHG reductions, as well as economic profitability benefits.   Carbon insetting is similar to "offsetting," in...