Soil Health Economic Case Study Toolkit - FIC

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Soil Health Economic Case Study Toolkit

Sections
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1. Introductory Materials
2. Row Crop R-SHEC Materials
3. Tree Nut R-SHEC Materials
4. Case Study Writing Guidance
5. Previous Version of Row Crop R-SHEC Tool (2022)
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Soil Health Economic Case Study Toolkit

Welcome to the Soil Health Economic Case Study Toolkit. With this Toolkit you will be able to analyze the field operations of “soil health successful” row crop* or tree nut** producers to estimate the changes in costs and benefits with adoption of one or more of these soil health practices: conservation crop rotation, cover crops, composting, no-till or reduced tillage, &/or nutrient management.

We provide an Excel-based Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) Tool to analyze the data, an associated questionnaire to collect the data, recorded video trainings, and guidance materials. The R-SHEC output is a partial budget analysis table of results, presenting side-by-side the positive and negative effects of soil health practice adoption. The field operation categories analyzed include: machinery, fertilizer, chemicals, soil sampling, yield, learning hours, and erosion.

If you want to turn the results into a case study that includes a description of the producer’s farm and soil health journey (like our soil health case studies) we provide you with a writing template to guide you. AFT’s hope is that one day our fellow conservationists in every farming county will publish a case study featuring at least one “soil health successful” producer, thereby demonstrating the feasibility of these soil health practices to producers in each county.

*Row crops refers to commodity cash and forage crops, specifically: barley, canola, corn grain, corn silage, ensilage, forage, flaxseed, grain sorghum, hay, mustard seed, oats, rapeseed, rye, safflower, sugar beets, sunflower seed, soybeans, triticale, and wheat.

**Tree nuts that the R-SHEC will work for include: almonds, pistachios, and walnuts.
To learn more, visit: https://farmland.org/project/quantifying-economic-and-environmental-benefits-of-soil-health/

NOTE: Should you use any of these methods, AFT would appreciate you providing an appropriate attribution and we’d like to hear about it. Please email Robert Ellis, Agricultural Economist or Lia Raz, Case Study Conservation Agronomist.

Training Sessions and Resources

Introductory Materials

Determine if the “soil health successful” farmer has a study area that is appropriate for the Retrospective-Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) Tool. Familiarize yourself with the R-SHEC Tool User Manual. Read published case studies. Download introductory documents to provide to an interested farmer. 

Row Crop R-SHEC Materials

Dive deeper into how to use the R-SHEC Tool for row crops by watching our training videos. Download the Tool and supporting documents. The questionnaire can be used to collect the producer’s story and data. The machinery cost list can be a helpful resource during the interview process. 

Tree Nut R-SHEC Materials

Dive deeper into how to use the R-SHEC Tool for tree nuts by watching our training videos. Download the Tool and supporting documents. The questionnaire can be used to collect the producer’s story and data. The machinery cost list can be a helpful resource during the interview process. 

Case Study Writing Guidance

Download the case study writing guide and template, which provides detailed content suggestion and copyediting tips that follow AFT’s published case study format. Learn more about the time commitment you can expect to publish a case study.  

Previous Version of Row Crop R-SHEC Tool (2022)

Download previous version of the R-SHEC Tool Kit. In this 2022 version of the Tool Kit, adoption of a Conservation Crop Rotation cannot be analyzed in combination with other soil health practices. Users can only analyze a Conservation Crop Rotation as standalone soil health practice. Also, this version uses 2021 price and cost values. See below for how this version differs from our updated 2024 Tool Kit.  

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