Study: Soil Health Practices Increase Farm Profitability

Research by American Farmland Trust shows healthier soil on farmland brings economic benefits to farmers and environmental benefits to society. Two case studies announced this week show that through soil health management, producers can increase their yield and improve profits.

All four of the farmers profiled saw improved yields ranging from two percent to 22 percent that they attributed, in part, to their soil health practices, with an average return on investment of 35 percent.

Soil health helps to conserve resources for the public, on the farm and in watersheds, according to AFT Water Initiative Director Dr. Michelle Perez, the lead researcher on the project. The two-page case studies focus on corn-soybean production in Illinois and Ohio, almond production in California and a diversified rotation of crops in New York. The four featured farmers implemented soil health practices like no-till or strip-till, nutrient management, cover crops, compost, and mulching.

The studies were developed through grants provided by the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.