On September 12, 2019, the Soil Health Institute (SHI) and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) today released the Impact of 2018 Farm Bill Provisions on Soil Health, a comprehensive review of each new provision and its role in advancing soil health, the foundation for regenerative and sustainable agriculture. The report also compares funding for soil health in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (i.e., 2018 Farm Bill) includes multiple changes to existing programs. New provisions provide additional incentives to farmers and ranchers to implement soil health-promoting practices such as cover crops and crop rotations. The 2018 Farm Bill also includes mandates for data collection and reporting on soil health, along with enhancements that provide soil health support for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers. Said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, SHI President and CEO:
“Several additions have significant potential to benefit soil health. Soil health has been designated as a priority in managing the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). More soil health field trials and demonstrations are also supported, both of which are important for increasing adoption. Changes to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) make it more likely that landowners will continue to improve soil health after their CRP contract ends.”
Said Mr. Ferd Hoefner, NSAC Senior Strategic Advisor:
“The report provides a detailed summary of almost 60 provisions that may affect soil health. It will be a valuable time saver for those who wish to gain information quickly. For example, the report provides a brief description of each provision, how it impacts soil health, and links to the respective USDA agency responsible for implementing that provision. In addition, authorized funding levels for the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills are compared for several programs in the Conservation, Research, and Forestry titles.”
The report was a joint collaboration authored by Ms. Katie Harrigan of the Soil Health Institute and Ms. Alyssa Charney of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
For more information, visit soilhealthinstitute.org/resources/catalog/#farmbill.
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.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is an alliance of grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities. NSAC’s vision of agriculture is one where a safe, nutritious, ample, and affordable food supply is produced by a legion of family farmers who make a decent living pursuing their trade, while protecting the environment, and contributing to the strength and stability of their communities.
Source: Soil Health Institute (Research Triangle Park, NC)