Economics of Soil Health: Key to Adoption
The current world population of approximately 7.4 billion is projected to increase to approximately 9.7 billion by 2050. Growing enough food, while also sustaining and improving our natural resources, is one of the greatest challenges of our time.
Recently, the concept of “soil health” has captured wide-ranging interest as a focal point for simultaneously achieving food production and environmental goals. Peer-reviewed, scientific research has in fact shown that many of the same farming/ranching practices to improve soil health can also reduce nutrient losses to ground- and surface water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce erosion, increase yield, suppress plant diseases, and provide pollinator and other wildlife habitat. However, we must recognize that farmers and ranchers are not only land stewards, but are also business men and women. Therefore, the economics of soil health-promoting practices play a critical role in their adoption.
Dr. Wayne Honeycutt is the President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, where he leads the Institute’s programs to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils. He previously served for 5 years as the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology with USDA-NRCS in Washington, DC, where he led programs in technology acquisition, development, and transfer to ensure NRCS conservation practices reflect the latest scientific advances for conserving our nation’s soil, water, air, plant, animal, and energy resources.