SOIL HEALTH

Iroquois Valley works with organic and transitioning farmers because of their commitment to the environment and human health. The USDA Organic Standard requires that a certified operation must work to maintain or improve natural resources, including soil. Iroquois Valley’s farmers use natural processes and materials to manage their operations closer to how a natural system would. Our farmers use the shared intent of greater soil health captured in both the Organic Standard and the Soil Health Principles for Organic Production to guide their management decisions.

Iroquois Valley’s certified organic farmer partners know that soil is a living system that is integral to their operation. They use the knowledge gained from one season to inform management decisions for the next, cumulatively leading to greater soil health over time. Our farmers see soil health as a continuous improvement process and part of an overall system of management, not as a checklist of practices. The exact portfolio of practices implemented will vary from farm to farm as do soil types and the natural resources vary from place to place.

We have over a decade of experience assisting farmers in their transition to organic agriculture and keeping them in business for the long run. We are working to shift farming systems, to make organic agriculture the norm in the United States. Our approach is twofold. We work to enable both healthy farming systems and financially healthy operations. Our strategies are fourfold:

  • Transitioning to an organic system that more closely mimics nature improves soil health
  • Healthy soils result from a system of management, not a check-list
  • Secure land tenure encourages farmer investment in a system of soil health
  • Organic agriculture provides economic benefits to both farms and their surrounding communities

IROQUOIS VALLEY’S OPERATIONS
STRIVE TO IMPROVE SOIL HEALTH 
THROUGH SEVEN PRINCIPLES:

What follows is a deeper dive into these ideas, and existing research that supports them. Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT is proud to be able to nurture the link between investors and farmers so organic agriculture can become the norm in the United States.

METHOD

Iroquois Valley sought to compile and synthesize the latest research on the soil health outcomes under organic management. Our project partner, Delta Institute compiled this synthesis through a literature review using Google Scholar, and University of Chicago’s Library database. In most cases, papers were post-2014, to reflect the more recent advancements in research and were either U.S. based or from areas with a soil order found in the U.S. and similar climatic conditions.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Research for this document was supported by a Conservation Innovation Grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), on Innovative Financing to Help Restore Soil Health: Iroquois Valley Farms’ Soil Restoration Notes, Agreement Number 69- 3A75-17-42, led by Iroquois Valley Farmland REIT.

Events

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