Learn the meaning and broad benefits of “soil health,” and explore how soil health relates to regenerative agriculture, climate resiliency, and other environmental benefits. Understand the four soil health management systems principles, what conservation practices improve soil health, and what some of the barriers to adoption are that farmers face.
Soil Health Stewards Toolkit
Soil Health Stewards Toolkit
Welcome to the Soil Health Stewards Toolkit. This toolkit includes video sessions and resources for agricultural land protection practitioners who want to promote soil health. These resources can be used to engage landowners around soil health at a number of different touchpoints—from initial conversations a land trust or public Purchase of Conservation Easement (PACE) staff person might have with a landowner contemplating an easement, to discussions around easement deed terms as well as associated conservation or management plans, to regular easement stewardship or monitoring visits.
These resources were developed as part of AFT’s Soil Health Stewards training sessions and include tools to engage any producer or landowner around soil health, not just those farming protected land. Farmers and landowners are welcome to look through this toolkit, however, you may find information more targeted to your needs on our Improve On-Farm Conservation webpage.
Use the prompts in our Soil Health Stewards Training Discussion Guide to reflect on your learning as you go through the toolkit. Then use the Soil Health Stewards Action Plan Template to think through ways that you and your organization can do more to promote soil health practices on agricultural land now and in the future.
Learn how to engage landowners and producers around soil health and identify potential sensitivities and challenges associated with this engagement.
Training Sessions and Resources
Soil Health Benefits
Learn about AFT-NRCS Soil Health Case Studies, which provide calculated estimates of the costs, benefits, and return on investment experienced by “soil health successful farmers,” and how they can be used with landowners and producers to encourage soil health practice adoption.
Working with Diverse Owners and Operators
Understand issues specific to certain landowners and producers including non-operating landowners; Black, Indigenous, and People of Color landowners and producers; women landowners and producers; and operators with insecure land tenure.
Resource Assessment Tools - Soil Health Assessment
Learn about Soil Health Assessments as a tool to promote soil health, how they are conducted and when one might be used.
Resource Assessment Tools - COMET-Planner
Explore the basics of the COMET-Planner tool and how it can be used to engage producers and landowners around soil health.
Advancing Soil Health Through Agricultural Conservation Easements and Referenced Plans
Learn about management and conservation plans and how they can be used as a tool to engage landowners and producers around soil health. Understand how leases can encourage non-operating landowners to incorporate conservation practices, and the pros and cons of using easement deed terms and conditions to achieve conservation objectives.
Connecting Landowners to Soil Health Technical and Financial Resources
Learn about state technical and financial resources for landowners and producers to improve soil health, and strategies to help them overcome barriers to accessing them. Also learn how to expand adoption of soil health practices on permanently protected farmland.
Leveraging Public and Private Funding to Help Finance Soil Health Practices
Learn about private market opportunities, including carbon and water quality credit markets, and public programs that foster innovative collaborations to encourage or incentivize specific conservation practice adoption or outcome-based pay for performance approaches.
Expanding and Untethering Soil Health Programming
Learn about creative approaches to promoting soil health among landowners and producers beyond those involving easement acquisition and stewardship.
Key organizations and networks to support soil health
AFT's National Ag Land Network
Join AFT's network for learning and information exchange among farmland protection professionals.
April Training Sessions
The complete list of recordings from AFT’s Soil Health Stewards Program training sessions in April.