The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the non-profit charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soils, recently concluded the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase, a series of eight online discussions with U.S. cotton farmers and soil health experts highlighting the challenges and positive impact soil health management systems can have on agricultural productivity and farm profitability.
More than 950 participants, including cotton farmers, crop consultants and other interested parties, attended the virtual showcases. The entire series is now available to view on-demand and can be accessed at https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/farmer-showcase/.
Presenting from seven different regions, the speakers at each event summarized how producers are making essential soil health practices like no-till and cover crops work under local soil and climate conditions.
Of all the participants surveyed, more than 99 percent were either “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied” after attending the webinars. Here’s what some of the attendees had to say:
“Including the farmers in this session was awesome. It is so great to hear from their perspective.” – Participant from Texas showcase
“I was particularly interested in what they said about landlords. I am looking for renters that are more open minded about these subjects.” – Participant from Arkansas showcase
“These meetings are very useful to scientists doing work in soil management. Keep up the excellent work and the engaging use of the Zoom platform!” – Participant from California showcase
The eighth and final episode culminated in a panel of regenerative agriculture leaders sharing their insights on why soil health is important to the future of U.S. cotton. The panel featured Greg Bohrer, Director, Natural Capital, Walmart Foundation; Dr. Jesse Daystar, Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer at Cotton Incorporated; Dr. Gary Adams, President and Chief Executive Officer, National Cotton Council; and Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Soil Health Institute.
“Cotton Incorporated is dedicated to conducting research and promoting activities to increase the demand for and profitability of cotton,” said Dr. Daystar. “We’re fortunate to have so many partners in the industry working on this critical sustainability issue and empowering farmers to adopt soil health systems.”
“[Adoption has] got to be tied as well to the practices and the bottom line,” said Dr. Adams. “At the end of the day, farmers are going to be good stewards of the land, but they have to be able to do it in a way that makes them viable economically as well.”
This event is part of the Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton project, which provides farmer-focused education and training delivered by Soil Health Institute scientists, partnering with local soil health technical specialists and farmer mentors who have implemented successful soil health management systems. The project aims to increase the adoption of soil health management systems among cotton producers while documenting environmental and economic benefits of that adoption.
Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler brand, the VF Corporation Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. For more information about the project, visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/soil-health-training/.
The Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Farmer Showcase Series
EPISODE 1 | Spotlight on Mississippi
Soil Health Challenges in the Delta: What Works and What Doesn’t
View episode 1
EPISODE 2 | Spotlight on Texas
Soil Health in Texas: Lessons from Long-term Study Sites
View episode 2
EPISODE 3 | Spotlight on Arkansas
Soil Health in Arkansas: Is it Profitable?
View episode 3
EPISODE 4 | Spotlight on California
Improving Soil Health in a Dry Climate
View episode 4
EPISODE 5 | Spotlight on Georgia
Soil Health in a Cotton and Peanut Rotation
View episode 5
EPISODE 6 | Spotlight on North Carolina/Virginia
Soil Health: View from the Cotton Gin
View episode 6
EPISODE 7 | Spotlight on the Carolinas
Lessons from 8 Years of Regenerative Agriculture
View episode 7
EPISODE 8 | Spotlight on Regenerative Ag Leaders
Why Soil Health is Important to the Future of U.S. Cotton
View episode 8