Farmers' Guides to Soil Health Economics - FIC

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Farmers’ Guides to Soil Health Economics

American Farmland Trust (AFT) has developed a series of two-page guides highlighting the economic costs and benefits of farmers adopting soil health practices for crop and grazing land. Soil health practices such as no-till, cover crops, nutrient management, crop rotations, and rotational grazing have been shown to reduce erosion, improve water quality, and improve resilience. Still, their effects on a farm’s bottom line are quite complicated. 

For farmers to feel confident deciding whether to adopt these practices, they need information on their economic effects—both positive and negative. The guides highlight relevant studies from the existing economic literature in quick, easy-to-read, two-page factsheets. 

These guides build on AFT’s Soil Health Case Studies, providing farmers with crucial economic information from “soil health successful” farmers to help them make their decision to adopt soil health practices. Currently, we have developed two series of guides, one focused on corn, soybean, and small grain rotations and another focused on grazing.  

The first three guides on corn, soybean, and small grain rotations are delineated by methodology: Budget Analyses, National Surveys, and Research Trials. Each guide briefly outlines the methodology, explains key findings from relevant literature, and offers key takeaways. For readers who want to dive deeper into specific studies, a hyperlink to each reference is provided. 

The second series of guides is focused on grazing practices. The first guide provides key takeaways on the benefits and costs of transitioning from conventional to rotational grazing. Future guides in this series will focus on the agronomic outcomes of transitioning to rotational grazing and the forage and soil health outcomes from seasonal grazing practices. 

Ben Wiercinski, Ellen Yeatman, Chellie Maples, and Michelle Perez
Washington, DC: American Farmland Trust
Page Numbers
Publication Date
August 04, 2023
Publication Type
Reports and Guides
Environmental Benefits, Farming Practices, Soil Health

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