Home 5 Ag Stories Soil initiative receives grant worth almost $10 million

Soil initiative receives grant worth almost $10 million

Iowa Field Manager for the Soil Health Partnership, Elyssa McFarland. Photo courtesy of the Soil Health Partnership (SHP).

AUDIO: Elyssa McFarland, Soil Health Partnership

An Iowa Corn Growers Association soil initiative receives a grant worth nearly $10 million.

The Soil Health Institute, the Soil Health Partnership and The Nature Conservancy received a grant Tuesday from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research for $9.4 million to improve soil health.

Elyssa McFarland is SHP Field Manager for Iowa.

“We’re really excited. This is going to be a huge boost… to be able to expand the work we do to help farmers better understand what soil health means on their farm and how to improve it,” McFarland says.

There currently is no standardized way to measure soil health. This project will help the industry adopt standardized measurements to evaluate and improve soil health while expanding education tools.

“I’ve been out and about in Iowa checking in with our research sites in Iowa and it is always exciting to hear from the farmers and be able to check in and see what the response is on online to this grant and any excitement building,” McFarland says.

McFarland adds farming practices that improve soil health can increase profitability while protecting natural resources like air and water for communities.

The grant will be matched by General Mills, the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative, Monsanto, Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Walmart Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and individual donors for a total investment of nearly $20 million.

FFAR is a nonprofit established through bipartisan support in the 2014 Farm Bill.