Four men and a plan. That’s all it took for the Soil Health Consultants, LLC and a non-profit arm, Soil Health Academy to be formed. The idea of the venture is to teach producers that it’s their stewardship and their efforts that can regenerate soil on their own land.
Three soil-driven, innovative farmers—Dave Brandt, Gabe Brown and Allen Williams, along with retired NRCS soil champion Ray Archuleta, decided to team up to help producers across the world apply soil health-focused, regenerative agriculture systems.
“Besides improving soil health, we need to regenerate soil and heal our ecosystems,” Gabe Brown says of the purpose behind the venture.
The goal of Soil Health Consultants is to educate producers on the importance of soil health through private counseling on their farms. The consulting will focus on ecological principles (bio-mimicry) that emulate nature’s design. This means developing five soil health principles that can be applied practically and profitably in any farming operation.
Achieve soil health principles
The five soil health principles:
1. Limiting the amount of soil disturbance; preferably using no-till.
2. No bare soil.
3. Diversity in what is planted into the fields.
4. Be sure to keep a living root in the ground as-long-as possible.
5. Integrate livestock into the farming operation.
Brown says the end goal of the consultants visiting a farm is to teach producers how to regenerate the soil being lost, increase productivity and profitability on the farm while sustaining the operation for the future generation.
The Soil Health Academy is comprised of a team of field consultants who are the “boots on the ground” and visit the farm. They work with a team of technical advisers to get the farm’s soil goals accomplished. The field consultants provide information to the team and then they develop a plan with technical advisers.
The technical advisers include holistic managers, entomologists, a molecular biologist, a chemical engineer, an agroecologist and more—to get the farm on the right track to regenerate soil while being more profitable.
Achieve nutrient dense food
Brown says the technical advisers are necessary to work on each individual farm no matter where the farm is in the world. By everyone working together, the end goal can be more that profits, productivity or soil health. It can be a higher nutrient density in foods.
“We are all in this together,” Brown says. "The number one goal is increase profitability through advanced ecosystem function. Increased productivity in the ag sector is becoming harder and harder to come by. By concentrating on minerals cycles, water cycles and other cycles, we increase productivity in the soil. It’s what is driving producers to reach out and learn these practices.”
Virtual and on-farm education
Besides SHC, the four founders have also created the Soil Health Academy, an advanced, hands-on source of training for those who want to restore the health and function of our living and life-giving soil. It is offered throughout North America as a three-day, on-farm intensive course and on-line through the SHA Virtual Academy.
“There is no more important pursuit than to help farmers, conservationists and consumers better understand and improve the health and function of our soil,” Brown says, “And regardless of where you farm, if you have soil, regenerative agriculture can work for you.”