"Economics is a primary driver influencing adoption of soil health-promoting practices and systems. Consequently, to realize the environmental and resilience benefits of soil health management systems, the economics of such practices must be assessed, demonstrated and communicated," explains Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., SHI president and CEO. "This generous grant from the Walton Family Foundation will allow us to assess and communicate how soil health management systems influence farmers' investment risk. We believe it's important to summarize the nation's research, viewing the results objectively from a business perspective," said Honeycutt.
"We want to be sure that farmers have the evidence-based information they need in making their management decisions," added Marcy Lowe, Datu CEO. Following data curation and analysis, SHI and Datu will develop fact sheets to distribute project findings to farmers through numerous public and private partners.
"The Soil Health Institute consists of a broad collaboration of agricultural and environmental leaders that was created to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement," Honeycutt said. "Studies show that increasing soil organic carbon can significantly enhance resilience of our soils, cropping systems and grazing systems to both drought and heavy precipitation. Unfortunately, most of our cultivated soils have lost approximately 20-40% of their native organic carbon, thereby increasing crop vulnerability to extreme weather events like drought. The Walton Family Foundation grant will allow us to pull the scientific evidence together and discern which management systems work best for both our agricultural producers and our environment as a whole. The on-farm surveys conducted by our partner, Datu Research, will provide much needed ground-truthing of real world economics as experienced by farmers. Collectively, this will give us a fairly complete picture of how soil health practices impact farmers' economic risk."
For continuing information, please visit www.soilhealthinstitute.org and www.daturesearch.com.
About the Soil Health Institute
The Soil Health Institute's (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. An evolution of the Soil Renaissance, an initiative established in 2013 by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation to advance soil health and make it the cornerstone of land use management decisions, the Soil Health Institute serves as the primary resource for soil health information.
About Datu Research
Datu Research, LLC (www.daturesearch.com) is an international consulting firm that helps clients forge research-based strategies in food & agriculture, economic development and climate resilience. Created in 2012 by analysts from Duke University's Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, Datu Research has worked hand-in-hand with both The Soil Renaissance and the Soil Health Institute to provide accurate data to agricultural producers, scientists and environmental leaders.
About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation (www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org) continues the philanthropic vision of Sam and Helen Walton, bringing together conservation, business and community interests to create long-term solutions that protect natural resources. Last year, the Foundation invested $79.8 million in conservation efforts that create the economic incentives to conserve our oceans and rivers – our most valuable, irreplaceable resources.
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SOURCE Soil Health Institute