Soil Health Partnership announces expansion of pilot associate program

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ST. LOUIS — The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) announced Dec. 5 it is expanding a pilot project to give more farmers access to the soil health network.

An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, the partnership is a long-term research effort that aims to show U.S. farmers how sustainability through soil health can also lead to increased profitability.

There are 140 farms enrolled in the program in 14 states, the largest farmer-led soil health research project of its kind.

As the organization launches phase 2 of its pilot Associate Program, it will invite 75 farmers to enroll in 2019.

“Expanding the pilot phase of our Associate Program provides a great number of farmers with access to a scientific platform to evaluate soil health as part of a comprehensive management strategy,” said Shefali Mehta, executive director of the Soil Health Partnership.

Joining the Associate Program during the pilot phase will give farmers access to no-cost soil health sampling and results.

The program will provide data insights and reports on how making a change, like growing cover crops, impacts their soil.

After enrolling 25 farms in the pilot program in 2018, phase 2 will bring the number of associate sites to 100.

A less-intensive version of the SHP’s 115 Full Partner sites enrolled in the long-term data project, Associate Program farmers will commit to a two-year project enrollment.

Yearly soil health testing will measure key metrics.

Enrolled farmers will choose between the following three treatment options: cover crop vs. no cover crop, tillage vs. less intrusive tillage, or no-till nutrient management.

For more details, visit SoilHealthPartnership.org.

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