What are tangible metrics across the various soybean-growing environments in Illinois that demonstrate improvements to soil health?
How do soil health practices correlate to quantifiable improvements in water quality, soil health indicators (biological, chemical, physical), nutrient utilization, GHG emissions and soil carbon sequestration?
How do different cropping systems influence soybean’s net carbon footprint and yield performance?
While farmers are curious about soil health, sustainability practices and carbon credit markets, they are also skeptical in part because of the lack of metrics and data. Because of the various cropping systems and growing environments in Illinois, farmers demand more than generalizations.
Quantifying how soil health practices improve soils, water and the environment can help move the needle on adoption. In addition, providing tangible metrics around nutrient fixation, carbon sequestration and GHG emissions can generate more trust in carbon markets.
Establishing these metrics can inspire more Illinois soybean farmers to adopt soil health practices, position the sustainability of Illinois soybeans in national and global markets, and lay the foundation for Illinois soybeans to capitalize on rapidly emerging carbon markets.
This research project is designed to deliver hard, field-based data farmers can use to inform management decisions to achieve different outcomes.
Farmers will have a clearer view of how tillage and cover cropping practices interact across the different soil and climate regions of Illinois. This will give them insights into the potential trade-offs between soil health and yield based on tillage and cover crop practices, as well as understand when it makes economic sense to take advantage of carbon credit programs.
The Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) checkoff and membership programs represent more than 43,000 soybean farmers in Illinois. The checkoff funds market development, soybean production and government relations efforts, while the membership program, Illinois Soybean Growers (ISG) and the Illinois Soybean Growers PAC actively advocates for positive and impactful legislation for farmers at local, state and national levels. ISA upholds the interests of Illinois soybean farmers through promotion, advocacy, research and education with the vision of becoming a trusted partner of Illinois soybean farmers to ensure their profitability now and for future generations.