American Farmland Trust shares resources to quantify soil health benefits

American Farmland Trust is sharing resources used in its recent case studies to demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of soil health.

Michelle Perez is the water initiative director for American Farmland Trust.

“We wanted to share all of these resources with our fellow conservationists across the United States so they could learn how to use them and produce their own case studies featuring farmers who have already adopted soil health practices,” she says.  

The AFT case studies were developed with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and feature soil health successful farmers.

One of the tools released is a Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) to evaluate costs and benefits of conservation practices. Perez tells Brownfield AFT is hoping it encourages more farmers to adopt soil health practices.

“It’s our vision that farmers who are on the fence about adopting soil health practices, if they were able to see economic analyses of other farmers in their county or in their state who have already adopted the soil health practices and they’re able to read the quantitative evidence associated with a successful implementation of those practices, it’s just going to boost their confidence to give these soil health practices a try,” she says.

Soil health practices can reduce unintended runoff from farms and help mitigate climate challenges.

Other resources provided include USDA’s Nutrient Tracking Tool, USDA’s COMET-Farm Tool, and instructions on how to present findings in a two-page case study.

AFT will release several new tools in 2021 including a Predictive Soil Health Economic Calculator (P-SHEC) Tool, a web-based version of the R-SHEC Tool, and an almond version of the R-SHEC tool to measure almond-specific soil health practices.

Audio: Michelle Perez

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