U.S. soybean farmers are improving the health of their farms’ soils through a joint partnership called Farmers for Soil Health, funded by the soy, corn and pork commodity groups. The partnership includes the implementation of cover crops, and Neal Bredehoeft, United Soybean Board farmer-leader from Alma, Missouri, says the effort is led and directed by farmers to advance the use of soil health practices.
He says; “To help us maintain sustainability goals and also to improve the profitability of farmers, two important aspects of it are technical assistance and financial incentives that will help farmers transition over to the use of cover crops. Currently, there’s about 15 million acres of cover crops in this country, and the Farmers for Soil Health partnership is trying to expand that up to 30 million acres by 2030.”
Bredehoeft started using cover crops on his farm roughly 10 years ago and has seen improvements in soil health since. “Soil conservation has always been an important aspect on our farm due to the fact we’re farming in highly erodible ground. We’ve seen increased soil health, organic matter has increased somewhat and erosion has not gotten any worse, so that’s really important to us. We use cover crops on a little over half of our acres, and we’re looking to get it up to 100% of our acres.”
He shares insight on helpful resources, such as their circle of trusted advisors and the Farmers for Soil Health website, for farmers looking to transition in using cover crops on their farm.
Bredehoeft; “I think it’s important to talk to those folks, and they can help them pull out resources to try to incorporate cover crops on their farm. We have a website, farmersforsoilhealth.com, and there’s a lot of resources there, and they also have the availability for farmers to sign up for email updates on the program as it goes along. I would recommend farmers just to try cover crops on a few acres. They can see how it works on their farm with their crop production practices, with their crop rotations and such.”
Again, that website is Farmers-for-Soil-Health-dot-com. Stay up to date with the latest from the United Soybean Board Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Central on RFD-TV.