The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is not even two years old yet, but already the group has made some great strides in learning more about soil health to share with farmers.
Hans Kok is a field manager for SHP in Indiana, where the second Soil Health Summit is being held this week. “We’re setting up a network of demonstration farms across the Midwest,” Kok says. “We are challenging farmers to change their soil management practices.”
Kok says the goal is to get soils back to where they should be to use less inputs and get higher yields. “We’re finding farmers who are farming in a fairly conventional way and we challenge them to take one field of 50 or 80 acres and put four replicated strips in there with a new practice,” he said. “For the next five or more years, we’ll keep track of what’s happening in those strips compared to what the farmer is doing currently.”
SHP is collecting both economic and field data, with extensive soil sampling and aerial photography. “We’re putting all this together for farmers as a management tool for the future,” Kok explained.
At the summit in Indianapolis, Kok says they are talking about some of the results they have collected so far, hearing from experts, providing soil demonstrations, and having small group discussions.
Learn more in this interview: Interview with Hans Kok, Soil Health Partnership