Six Missouri farms have joined the Soil Health Partnership, a move that could hasten the adoption of agricultural practices linked to optimizing crop production and sustainability alike in the Show-Me State.
Often called the next frontier in agriculture, research shows the benefits of nurturing soil health include improved crop yield, enhanced water quality, increased drought resilience, better flood resistance, and decreased greenhouse gas emissions. Key practices to improve soil health include reduced tillage, the use of cover crops in winter, and advanced nutrient management.
“The missing link has been data that show these practices can provide a significant economic benefit on real, working farms, in addition to positive environmental outcomes, “said Darrick Steen, director of environmental programs for the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. Both organizations support the program and helped bring it to the state. “The SHP is answering key questions Missouri growers ask us, using sound scientific trials that growers can depend on, and right in their own fields.”
The newly enrolled farmers mark the official expansion of the partnership into Missouri, joining more than 100 others enrolled in the program in nine other states. They are:
- Neal and Kathy Bredehoeft/Alma, MO
- Renee and Richard Fordyce/Bethany, MO
- Tim and Lennie Gottman/Monroe City, MO
- Brent and Charlotte Hoerr/Palmyra, MO
- Brian D. Martin/Centralia, MO
- Joshlin Yoder/Leonard, MO
One of the farmers, Richard Fordyce, is former director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. He championed initiatives such as the Agricultural Stewardship Assurance Program, a voluntary certification program.
The Missouri farmers will measure results of cover crop strip trials, in addition to other management strategies to improve nutrient use efficiency and water quality, and to reduce erosion. With the help of a trained field manager, SHP will measure improvements in soil health and farm outcomes over a period of years on the strips that have cover crops, compared to those that don’t.
An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the Soil Health Partnership is a data-driven program working to quantify the benefits of practices that support soil health from an economic as well as environmental standpoint.
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.