The North Central Region Soil Health Nexus was initiated in 2016 with funding from the North Central Region Water Network. A North Central Soil Health Work Group with representatives from Land Grant Universities across the 12 state region convened to address the challenges of increasing access to soil health research, knowledge, extension and resources. A regional structure was initiated around the three areas of Research, Extension and Outreach, and Resources and Communications. The Nexus/MaSH interactive website serves the communication conduit for each area.
- Maintain and grow our inventory of soil health research, training, and educational resources.
- Produce regional publications, videos, webinars, and blogs relevant to soil health and manure research and management practices.
- Develop regional research projects to promote conservation systems and practices such as cover crops, and no-till technologies that will lead to the improvement of soil and water quality in the region.
- Form a research and education technical committee that will serve as a regional infrastructure for future development of new science in the area of soil health and manure management.
- Continuing to grow participation among land—grant researchers, Extension staff and educators, and other partners to ensure access to locally relevant soil health and manure information across the North Central Region.
- Build capacity in each state’s Land Grant system to deliver soil health training, research, and resources.
Manure’s fertility value can be an economic win for crop farmers. Manure’s organic matter, when used to enhance soil quality, can be an economic and environmental win. But not all fields benefit equally. Identifying the win/win opportunities for manure in crop production is important to a healthy agricultural economy and ecosystem.
A group of Land Grant University and NRCS professionals has formed a Manure and Soil Health team for the purpose of encouraging a better understanding of manure’s value. With some start up support from the North Central Region Water Network, our group proposes to: 1) summarize the current state of knowledge on the role of manure in soil health; 2) distribute this knowledge to those influencing manure and soil management decisions; and 3) identify future research and education needs to advance our knowledge.