How does the 2018 Farm Bill rate in terms of soil health and regenerative agriculture? The Soil Health Institute and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition released the Impact of 2018 Farm Bill Provisions on Soil Health, a comprehensive review of each new provision and its role in advancing soil health, the foundation for regenerative and sustainable agriculture. The report also compares funding for soil health in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. It is authored by Katie Harrigan of the Soil Health Institute and Alyssa Charney of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 includes multiple changes to existing programs. New provisions provide additional incentives to farmers and ranchers to implement soil health-promoting practices such as cover crops and crop rotations. The 2018 Farm Bill also includes mandates for data collection and reporting on soil health, along with enhancements that provide soil health support for beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers and ranchers.
"Several additions have significant potential to benefit soil health," noted Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, SHI President and CEO. "Soil health has been designated as a priority in managing the Conservation Stewardship Program. More soil health field trials and demonstrations are also supported, both of which are important for increasing adoption."
"The report provides a detailed summary of almost 60 provisions that may affect soil health," said Ferd Hoefner, NSAC Senior Strategic Advisor. "It will be a valuable time saver for those who wish to gain information quickly. For example, the report provides a brief description of each provision, how it impacts soil health, and links to the respective USDA agency responsible for implementing that provision. In addition, authorized funding levels for the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills are compared for several programs in the Conservation, Research, and Forestry titles."