SOIL HEALTH INSTITUTE

Changing the landscape of soil health

Morrisville, NC   |  www.soilhealthinstitute.org

Mission

Our mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and adoption. Our vision is a world where farmers and ranchers grow quality food, fiber, and fuel using soil health systems that sustain farms and rural communities, promote a stable climate and environment, and improve human health and well-being. How do we accomplish this mission and vision? By implementing a strategic and comprehensive strategy to achieve on-farm and environmental benefits at scale as described in this short video: https://vimeo.com/346876305 The Soil Health Institute is uniquely positioned to implement this plan due to its leadership, partners, and team of professionals with PhDs in soil science, agronomy, microbiology, and agricultural economics.

Ruling year info

2016

President and CEO

Wayne Honeycutt PhD

Main address

2803 Slater Rd Ste 115

Morrisville, NC 27560 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

47-5349004

NTEE code info

Fund Raising and/or Fund Distribution (U12)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2020, 2019 and 2018.
Register now

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

By 2050, our agricultural systems will need to support another 2 billion people. Yet, in the last century, soils have lost 40-60% of the basic building block that makes them productive (organic matter). The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached the highest level ever recorded and are continuing to increase. Drought is expected to increase from impacting 1% of the world’s arable land to over 30% by the end of the century due to climate change. Approximately 80% of our nation’s rivers and streams are currently impaired due to nutrient runoff and other contaminants. We are at a critical juncture in human history where we must address these challenges by transforming agriculture, and soil health is the framework to do just that.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Business Case for Farmers

Because farmers and ranchers are business men and women, the Institute is conducting projects to quantify the business case for soil health. This includes:
1. Assessing the economics of soil health systems compared to conventional systems at 124 research sites and 125 farms across North America.
2. Evaluating impact of soil health management on economic risk and yield stability across North America.
3. Providing administrative leadership to a new Ecosystem Services Market Consortium.

Population(s) Served

Several different measures of soil health are currently used, but a uniform, widely-accepted soil health evaluation program has yet to be developed. We are currently developing a widely-applicable soil health evaluation program by assessing 31 soil health measurements at 124 long-term agricultural research sites across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. This is the most comprehensive, strategic assessment of soil health measurements known to exist. By Fall of 2020, it will allow SHI to recommend the most effective measurements for farmers, scientists, field conservationists, and others to evaluate the health of their soils.

Population(s) Served

SHI implemented a soil health training program for cotton farmers that involves establishing local learning networks co-led by farmer mentors and technical specialists who not only provide the training but are also continuously engaged as a resource to other farmers. The training program launched in NC, GA, and AR in 2019; and is expanding to MS, TX, and CA in 2020.

Population(s) Served

SHI has identified several R&D needs to advance the science and adoption of soil health. Current and recently completed projects include:
1. Developing a decision support tool for farmers that will allow them to select their management practices to achieve a targeted increase in available water holding capacity and therefore drought resilience in their soils. The tool will be completed and field-validated in 2020.
2. Hosted and organized a multi-disciplinary conference to explore the relationships between soil health and human health. Identified 10 priorities, as described in the conference report.
3. Developed the Soil Health Research Landscape Tool, an on-line database of over 13,000 soil health references from scientific and popular press articles.

Population(s) Served

SHI is quantifying the benefits of managing for soil health by:
1. Assessing the impacts of soil health practice implementation on carbon sequestration and drought resilience in soils across North America.
2. Evaluating the relationships between soil health and water quality in the Mississippi River Basin.
3. Assessing the impacts of soil health management systems on productivity at 124 research sites and 125 partnering farms across North America.

Population(s) Served

SHI contributes to well-informed policies by:
1. Developing a catalog of over 120 state level agency, legislative, and NGO programs and policies pertaining to soil health.
2. Providing evidence-based information to policymakers when the opportunity arises, including a 2018 congressional briefing provided by the SHI CEO on the importance of soil health for the 2018 Farm Bill.
3. Analyzing the Impact of the 2018 Farm Bill on Soil Health, identifying and describing how 60 specific provisions in the Farm Bill may influence soil health.

Population(s) Served

We believe that educating consumers about the many environmental benefits that accrue through soil health will create more market demand for food, fiber, and fuel grown using soil health systems. Our contributions to consumer education include:
1. Developed and released the Living Soil documentary describing how innovative farmers across the U.S. are using soil health practices to improve their economic situation and benefit the environment (over 240K views as of 1/3/2020).
2. Developed and released lesson plans for High School and College levels to accompany the Living Soil documentary.
3. Developed catalog of over 40 on-line soil health resources for K-12 curricula. Currently working to integrate those soil health resources into K-12 educational programs.
4. Developed and maintain up-to-date Resources page for farmers and consumers on soil health practices, economics, ecosystem services, measurement, policy, research, climate change, communications, and others.
5. Developed “Soil Health 360” to help keep farmers and consumers updated on the latest news, blogs, press releases, website posts, etc. in soil health.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The Soil Health Institute is implementing a comprehensive strategy to achieve on-farm and environmental benefits at scale.

To achieve these benefits at scale and meet the triple challenge of climate change, water quality, and food security, the Institute is tackling the financial, technical, and educational barriers that farmers and ranchers face when deciding to adopt soil health systems.

The Institute defines success by the degree to which we increase adoption of soil health practices on rangelands and croplands in North America. These practices include prescribed grazing on rangelands, and nitrogen management, cover crops, and no-tillage on croplands. In the United States, as of 2019 according to data from the United States Depart of Agricutlure, 10% of rangeland acres are managed using prescribed grazing, and in cropland, 5% of acres are managed using cover crops, 35% of acres are managed using nitrogen management, and 37% of acres are managed using no-tillage.

The Soil Health Institute's goal is to enable farmers and ranchers to adopt soil health practices on 100% of rangeland and cropland acres by 2040. Doing so would achieve net zero carbon emissions from agricultural land in the United States.

This is the equivalent of taking nearly 1.5 billion passenger cars off the road for one year. It is also the equivalent of not burning nearly 93 million rail cars of coal.

Achieving this goal will also prevent at least 39 million pounds of nitrogen from entering our waterways and save over 11 million metric tons of soil from erosion

These co-benefits accrue from adopting the same practices used to improve soil health.

To achieve these goals, the Soil Health Institute and its partners believe we will need to provide the following for farmers, ranchers, businesses, policymakers, scientists, and consumers:
• Widely applicable soil health assessment program;
• Authoritative assessment of soil health baselines and outcomes;
• Technology for rapid and inexpensive soil carbon measurement;
• Realistic soil carbon sequestration potential quantified for each agricultural soil;
• Evidence of how soil health practices impact profitability;
• Incorporation of soil health onto the balance sheet in terms of financial risk and land valuation;
• Ecosystem service markets that pay farmers for the environmental benefits accrued through adopting soil health systems;
• Soil health management training for crop advisors, agricultural retailers, and farmers;
• Effective communities of practice and farmer-to-farmer networks;
• Evaluation of soil health impacts on nutritional quality;
• Assessment of chemical inputs, tillage, and other management practices on soil health in organic, regenerative, and conventional systems;
• Microbiome research that helps farmers implement practices that naturally suppress plant diseases, reduce inputs, and improve soil health;
• Models and tools that quantify the impact of soil health on carbon sequestration, water quantity, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions;
• Evidence-based policies pertaining to soil health;
• An up-to-date catalog of legislative, academic, state agency, and nonprofit programs to improve soil health;
• Curation and maintenance of soil health educational materials such as the Living Soil documentary, high school and college soil health lesson plans, soil health resources, events, news, and educational resources; and a
• Research Landscape Tool to consolidate and categorize publicly available soil health information.

Soil health unites farmers, ranchers, policymakers, and businesses at a critical time. Through these projects, the Soil Health Institute is contributing to a stable climate, clean water, sufficient habitat for wildlife and pollinators, and a secure food supply for a growing population.

The Soil Health Institute's strategic approach can be viewed in this short 5-minute video: https://vimeo.com/346876305

The Soil Health Institute’s team holds PhDs in soil science, agronomy, microbiology, agricultural economics, and related fields. Its partners include over 100 public and private organizations who provide technical, educational, and financial support to advance soil health.

The Soil Health Institute is uniquely positioned to implement this plan due to the collective experience, scientific knowledge, industry expertise, and proven track record of its leadership (https://soilhealthinstitute.org/leadership/) , team (https://soilhealthinstitute.org/about-us/#projectteams), governance (https://soilhealthinstitute.org/about-us/#governance), and supporting partners (https://soilhealthinstitute.org/partners/).

The Soil Health Institute (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) was established in 2015 by the Samuel Roberts
Noble Foundation and the Farm Foundation to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil
through scientific research and adoption. Since that time, the Institute has made significant progress in
several strategic areas:
Strategic Planning:
•Developed a comprehensive Theory of Change and corresponding Action Plan to advance the science and
adoption of soil health systems for environmental and production benefits at scale.
Business Case for Farmers:
•Assessing the value of soil health systems on profitability, economic risk, and productivity on 125 farms
and 124 research sites across North America.
•Providing scientific advisory leadership of the newly launched Ecosystem Services Market Consortium
designed to provide financial incentives for farmers and ranchers for the ecosystem services they provide by
improving soil health.
Soil Health Measurement:
•Provided scientific leadership for identifying effective soil health measurements and methods.
•Established over 100 partnerships across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to evaluate 31 soil health
measurements on 124 long-term research sites. This is the most unique and comprehensive soil health
database in the world that will allow Institute scientists and partners to develop and implement a widely
applicable soil health evaluation program in 2020.
Farmer Education and Training:
•Implemented a soil health training program for farmers, establishing local learning networks co-led by
farmer mentors and technical specialists continuously engaged to assist with adoption. The program
launched in NC, GA, and AR in 2019, while expanding to MS, TX, and CA in 2020.
Quantifying Impacts:
•Evaluated the relationships between soil health and water quality at 10 field sites in the Mississippi
River Basin.
•Evaluating impacts of soil health system adoption on profitability, carbon sequestration, water quantity,
greenhouse gas emissions, and productivity. These impacts will inform policy, increase consumer demand,
and increase farmer and rancher adoption of soil health systems.
Policy:
•Developed a catalog of over 280 state level agency, legislative, and NGO programs and policies pertaining
to soil health.
•Provided evidence-based information to policymakers, including a 2018 congressional briefing on soil
health during the 2018 Farm Bill deliberations.
•Conducted an impact analysis of the 2018 Farm Bill on soil health.
•Assessed Soil Health Adoption Based on the Census of Agriculture from 2012 to 2017.
Education:
• Produced the Living Soil documentary: https://vimeo.com/298616093
• Developed and released lesson plans for High School and College levels.
• Developed catalog of over 40 on-line soil health resources for K-12 curricula.
• Developed and providing up-to-date Resources and Soil Health 360 page for farmers and consumers

Financials

SOIL HEALTH INSTITUTE
lock

Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.

Subscribe

Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SOIL HEALTH INSTITUTE

Board of directors
as of 02/25/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Jason Weller

Land O' Lakes

Term: 2020 - 2023

William Buckner

Noble Research Institute (retired)

William Flory

Flory Farms

Robert Foster

Foster Brothers Farm, Inc.

Earl Garber

National Association of Conservation Districts (retired)

Diana Jerkins

Organic Farming Research Foundation

Buce Knight

Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC

Andrew LaVigne

American Seed Trade Association

Clare Lindahl

Soil and Water Conservation Society

Klaas Martens

Lakeview Organic Grain

Larkin Martin

Martin Farm

Neal Martin

US Dair Forage Research Center USDA ARS (retired)

Lara Moody

The Fertilizer Institute

Jeff Moyer

Rodale Institute

Steven Rhines

Noble Research Institute

Greg Ruehle

Servi-Tech Inc.

Jay Vroom

Vroom-Leigh-Agriculture, LLC

Jason Weller

Land O'Lakes

Wesley Wood

University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences West Florida Research and Education Center

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable