Soil Health - Quantifying the Economic Impact of Soil Health Practices

A growing interest in soil health and soil health systems has spurred increased interest in the use of no-till systems and the planting of cover crops to help ensure that soil is covered year round. Farmer adoption of no-till/cover crop systems hinges on a number of factors, including how these practices impact a farm operation’s bottom line. 

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) invests in the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, annually funding innovative conservation projects in three focus areas: grazing lands, organic systems and soil health. On June 8, 2017, the NRCS announced that the agency will award more than $22.6 million to 33 projects nationwide through its competitive Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program in 2017. 

The project "Subtropical Soil Health Initiative" proposed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology was awarded $785,565 to address soil erosion challenges in the Lower Rio Grande Valley arising from soils left bare through the summer. The project consists of field demonstrations of ecological soil management on certified organic and transitioning vegetable and row crop farms, focusing on the effectiveness, practicality, and profitability of cover crops and reduced tillage. Technical assistance and knowledge transfer to underserved (predominantly Hispanic) audiences is a key part of the project. 

Currently, researchers are looking at how different cover crops can impact soil health as well as the bottom line for the growers in the subtropical regions of south Texas.  PPC Farms is proud to be collaborating with NCAT and UTRGV in this effort.