MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill and the Soil Health Institute partnered to assess, demonstrate and communicate the economics of soil health management systems across North America. 

“At Cargill, we’re committed to helping farmers increase their productivity so that we can nourish a growing population,” said Ryan Sirolli, global row crop sustainability director, Cargill. “We work with partners like The Soil Health Institute to give farmers the tools and resources they need to bring greater sustainability to their operations, while ensuring their productivity. Farmers are looking for a more robust picture of the economic benefits of investing in soil health on their farms. By partnering with the Soil Health Institute, we will be able to provide the research and insight they need to understand how investing in soil health can provide both financial and environmental benefits. Together, we can help farmers build drought resilience, increase yield stability, reduce nutrient loss and increase carbon sequestration.”

Supported by an $850,000 grant from Cargill, Cristine Morgan, PhD, chief scientific officer of the Soil Health Institute, will lead the Soil Health Institute’s Agricultural Economist in developing enterprise budgets to compare profitability of soil health-promoting systems with conventional management systems on approximately 100 farms near 120 research sites across North America.

“The bottom line is that when it comes to assessing economics, both types of information are useful — the research experiment and the farmer experience,” Morgan said.  “That is why we are using a two-pronged approach for assessing profitability of soil health systems that integrates results from research sites with those experienced by nearby farmers.”

The goal is to provide famers management practices to improve soil health on the farm and in the environment.

“Together, Cargill and the Soil Health Institute can address the single most influential factor affecting adoption of soil health systems — the economic impact on farmers,” Sirolli said. “This partnership will produce more meaningful and profitable programs for growers and accelerate adoption so that agriculture can be part of the solution to the environmental challenges we face.”

The Soil Health Institute is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.