There is an ever-growing chorus of scientists, farmers, ranchers and businesses acknowledging healthy soil as the most effective way to build resilience and mitigate the risks of flood and drought on agricultural land.
It is widely accepted that a 1% increase in soil organic matter (SOM) can hold up to 20x its weight in water on land! That’s around 27,000 gallons of water in the top six inches of topsoil. (See here & here.)
However the major institutions that are in the business of assessing risk, like insurers and banks, don’t reward producers who are managing their soils responsibly and reducing their risk. Why?
Despite the increasing interest and support for an outcomes-based approach* to soil health, and the promising, yet siloed, results seen on demonstration plots and field trials across the country, our institutions are still missing the consistent, reliable data we need to build predictive models of risk.
Once that is established, we can identify and reward producers for their resilience and stewardship.
Land Core advocates for this outcomes-based approach to risk mitigation and works with public and private initiatives to collect that data. Using policy and existing infrastructure, we’re also building the soil health outcomes-verification infrastructure necessary to give all American farmers access to the savings they deserve when they increase their resilience.
*Increasingly, we see consensus for the need to look at soil health outcomes – key indicators like “soil organic matter” and “water infiltration rates”. Regardless of which conservation practices a farmer or rancher applied in a given year, the question must be, “What was the outcome of the practice? Did it work?” This allows us to assess the effectiveness of soil health principles that hold true across a range of landscapes, while allowing for the creativity and ingenuity of the farmer to guide which practice is best for their unique context.
Supply Chain Integration
With affordable, consistent, reliable data showing that soil is healthy and/or improving, we’ll be able to create pathways for companies of all sizes to integrate farmers building healthy soils into their supply chains.
Land Core’s policy work to date has largely focused on encouraging ways to provide a national, accessible, outcomes-verified soil health program.