The Soil Health Partnership 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 Soil Health Partnership 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 Mehta.
“Our initial analyses show that farmers participating in the Soil Health Partnership for more than 3-5 years have seen increases in soil organic matter of one-third to one-half percent. Though this might not sound like much of an increase, soil organic matter typically changes very slowly with a change in management and is a key indicator of soil health.”
“The farmers we work with are exceptional land managers looking for partnership on their journey to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of their farm operations.”
Mehta concluded by highlighting the need to work collaboratively, stating, “Collaborations are key to successful outcomes in this arena – no one group can go it alone. Through strong outcome-based collaborations, like ours, we have seen greater awareness and adoption of soil health practices. With stronger data and input across our diverse growing regions, we are learning more about the economic impacts to farmers and ways to improve adoption by mitigating risks and improving the bottom line.”
To view the full hearing and read Mehta’s full testimony, click here.