A new project will help farmers understand and implement soil health practices and connect those practices to farm profitability. Funded by a Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), the project is overseen by the Soil Health Partnership (SHP), a program of the National Corn Growers Association and the Illinois Corn Growers Association.

Participating farmers will conduct side-by-side comparisons of different tillage practices, cover crops, nutrient management practices, grazing and manure usage. Using CIG funds, the financial risks will be mitigated to help offset seed costs, minimize yield disruptions and encourage farmer participation.

This Illinois project is one of 16 selected for an inaugural CIG On-Farm Trials competition. NRCS awarded a total of $24.3 million for the 16 projects in 23 states. Most projects have the potential to be replicated or to serve as a model for similar innovation efforts.