Farmers for Soil Health is a new collaboration in partnership with the soy checkoff, Pork Checkoff and National Corn Growers Association to create a farmer-led cover crop program that advances the use of soil health practices, meets sustainability goals and improves farmer profitability.

Farmers for Soil Health will enable farmers to proactively drive sustainability improvements while gaining critical support from industry and supply chain partners. One way we can accomplish this is by increasing the number of cover crop acres in the U.S. Today, cover crops are only used on about 6% of U.S. cropland.1 Our goal is to improve soil health by encouraging farmers to expand their adoption of cover crops to 30 million acres by 2030.

1 Census of Ag: Cover Crop Acres in U.S. Growing 8% Per Year. Cover Crop Strategies. April 16, 2019.

With Cover Crops, Farmers Can:2

Improve soil health and permeability

Reduce erosion

Increase drought resistance and improve water quality

Lower input costs

Reduce nutrient loss

Achieving Success

Farmers for Soil Health will enable state commodity groups and other partners to assist farmers in implementing and maintaining cover crops through:

  • Farmer outreach, education, and communication
  • Financial assistance/cost-share opportunities for farmers
  • Technical assistance for farmers
  • Identifying and addressing barriers to participation
  • Financial incentives

Measuring Progress

Farmers for Soil Health will track progress through the following measures:

  • Practice metrics
  • Cover crop acres based on NASS Census of Agriculture data
  • Outcome metrics
  • Soil loss based on National Resources Inventory data
  • Carbon/GHG, soil loss and water quality, which will be modeled by Soil Heath Institute

More information about building soil health by using cover crops and other practices will be uploaded on this site in August 2022.

2 Cover Crop Trends, Programs, and Practices in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture. February 2021.

Sustainable pork production begins with sustainably produced corn and soybeans — the two primary ingredients fed to pigs. The Pork Checkoff knows that soy and corn farmers have long been committed to sustainability as frontline environmental stewards and we are pleased to partner with them through Farmers for Soil Health to advance the adoption of cover crops and conservation tillage in corn and soybean production that will ultimately help pork producers reduce their environmental footprint and meet their sustainability goals.

This program is brought to you by the:

With special support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Sustainability Consortium, National Association of Conservation Districts, the Soil Health Institute and USDA-NRCS.

Learn More

The Farmers for Soil Health Sustainability Blueprint outlines how we work together to improve the sustainability of the pork feed supply.

Throughout the report, you will find research and results from sustainability-focused projects completed by Farmers for Soil Health member organizations along with each organization’s sustainability goals.

Press & Media

USDA Expands Conservation Programs for 2022

Farmers interested in conservation programs through the USDA will see expanded and updated choices for 2022. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has announced increased opportunities for climate-smart agriculture.

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U.S. Aims to Double Cover Crop Planting to Address Climate Change

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The United States aims to double the country’s cover crop plantings to 30 million acres by 2030 under a new Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation program launched on Monday.

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USDA Offers Expanded Conservation Program Opportunities to Support Climate Smart Agriculture in 2022

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is announcing several new and expanded opportunities for climate smart agriculture in 2022.

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