FSH Page


Welcome to CTIC's Farmers for Soil Health Program

At the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), we are proud partners in the Farmers for Soil Health program, a collaborative effort initiated by the National Corn Growers Association, United Soybean Board, and the National Pork Board. Our mission is to drive positive change in agriculture, one field at a time.

About Farmers for Soil Health

Farmers for Soil Health (FSH) is a farmer-driven sustainability program designed to enhance soil health and promote the adoption of cover crops. With a bold vision of expanding cover crops to 30 million acres by 2030, FSH is at the forefront of sustainable agriculture practices.

Our Role

CTIC plays a vital role in this program by providing outreach and technical assistance to farmers in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Our dedicated, full-time Soil Health Specialists work one-on-one with farmers and their advisors. We understand the unique needs of each operation and support farmers in adopting or expanding their use of cover crops.

Our Commitment

Our goal is clear: to enroll 500 farmers, representing 87,000 acres, into the Farmers for Soil Health program. We are committed to empowering farmers to make sustainable choices that benefit both their operations and the environment.

Power of Partnership

Together with partners such as the American Soybean Association, National Association of Conservation Districts, Soil Health Institute, and more, Farmers for Soil Health is poised to make a significant impact on agriculture. Our commitment to keeping farmers' goals at the center of our mission drives us forward.

Ready to Transform Your Farm?

Join the Farmers for Soil Health program and be a part of a brighter, more sustainable future for agriculture.


Resources (handouts, webinar recordings etc.)


Farmers for Soil Health webinars


Learn tips from farmers who use cover crops in northern climates, as well as pointers on terminating covers. You'll also learn about CTIC's new Cover Crop Coach program and sign-up details for Farmers for Soil Health and its great cover crop incentives.


Making Cover Crops Work in the North Central States: An Introduction to Soil Health

In this one-hour webinar, CTIC soil health specialists Catie Geib and Julia Gerlach introduce the Farmers for Soil Health (FSH) program and discuss on-farm cover crop strategies with South Dakota farmer Jamie Johnson. In this first-in-a-series webinar, you’ll learn about FSH cover crop incentives, discover resources for learning about cover benefits, hear a farmer’s perspective on successfully adopting cover crops, see a demonstration of how to sign up for the program, and more.

Fact sheets from SARE, Extension Etc. 

The following downloadable fact sheets from the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program explain the impact cover crops have on soil erosion, water use, nutrient cycling and much more.

10 Ways Cover Crops Enhance Soil Health

Farmers can improve soil health by planting cover crops, which are planted between cropping seasons to protect and improve the soil. By keeping a living root in the ground for as long as possible, cover crops help build soil organic matter, improve water infiltration and water-holding capacity, decrease compaction, reduce erosion and more. 


Cover Crops at Work: Covering the Soil to Prevent Erosion

Soil loss, whether from rain or wind, is exacerbated when soil is left bare. Research has shown that cover crops can effectively eliminate soil erosion, depending upon the type of cover crop planted. Learn how to keep your soil from washing or blowing away with cover crops.

(include this infographic from SARE? https://www.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/Erosion-and-Infiltration.png)


Cover Crops at Work: Increasing Infiltration

Getting an adequate amount of rain is important in farming operations, but out of a farmer’s control. But getting “enough” rain doesn’t matter if it doesn’t soak into the ground and instead runs off into local waterways. Find out how cover crops can help water get into the ground where it belongs.


Cover Crops at Work: Keeping Nutrients Out of Waterways

Applied nutrients that run off or leach from agricultural fields are a double negative. Not only do they disrupt sensitive aquatic ecosystems, they literally take profits from the farm and wash them away. Find out how cover crops have been shown to reduce nitrogen leaving the field by an average of 48 percent.

(include this infographic from SARE? https://www.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/Erosion-and-Infiltration.png)


Cover Crops at Work: Increasing Soil Organic Matter

Soil organic matter is the portion of soil that is composed of living and dead biology in various states of decomposition. It acts as a reservoir for water and nutrients, and higher levels of organic matter are associated with improved soil structure, less soil compaction, better water-holding capacity and more. Find out how cover crops help to increase soil organic matter in multiple ways.

(include this infographic from SARE? https://www.sare.org/wp-content/uploads/Soil-Organic-Matter.png)


Cover Crops and Carbon Sequestration

Sequestering atmospheric carbon in the soil helps to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The soil has significant potential to store carbon and to mitigate the effect of climate change. Cover crops help increase soil carbon levels by feeding the bacteria, fungi, and other soil organisms that move the carbon into the soil profile and keep it there.


Impact of Cover Crops on Natural Enemies and Pests

While insects can definitely create havoc on crops, only about one percent of bugs are pests that are considered harmful, according to experts. Natural enemies are beneficial invertebrates that consume or otherwise help control crop pests. Learn how cover crops can help provide natural enemies with food and shelter year-round, boosting their numbers in cash crops and potentially reducing pest pressures.


Cover Crop Impacts on Soil Invertebrates

Healthy soil is home to a great diversity of soil invertebrates, such as worms, ants, springtails, millipedes, and beetles. Learn how cover crops can feed and support soil invertebrates throughout the year.


Cover Crop Economics

Farmers around the country are planting cover crops on millions of acres to protect and improve the soil, and the more that farmers use cover crops, the more they value this conservation practice. Cover Crop Economics: Opportunities to Improve Your Bottom Line in Row Crops looks at the economics of cover crops in corn and soybean rotations to help farmers answer that big question: when do cover crops pay?


From Midwest Cover CropCouncil:


Integrating Cover Crops in Soybean Rotations

This publication from the Midwest Cover Crop Council explores the challenges and opportunities of growing cover crops in the North Central Region of the United States. 

From selecting the right cover crop species to getting them established to navigating crop insurance rules and termination tips, this guide provides an in-depth look at how farmers in the region are using cover crops both before and after soybean production. Including interviews with 16 farmers in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin, this publication also provides resources and references that will further enhance your cover crop journey.


Cover Crop Success Stories


Our Soil is Our Strength with Nancy Kavazanjian | Farmers for Soil Health

Nancy Kavazanjian and her husband Charlie Hammer farm in the south-central part of Wisconsin where they grow corn, soybeans and wheat in rotation. Over the years they have been innovators in no-till and strip till farming and were the first in their area to regularly use cover crops.


Crop, Animal Diversity Bring Stronger Soil & New Income Streams (no-tillfarmer.com)

By implementing the soil health principles, this South Dakota family is making plants and animals work together to improve the land while also protecting profitability.



[Video] Seeding Cereal Rye with the Combine (no-tillfarmer.com)

Certified crop advisor Lance Klessig explains how Mark and Mike Stokes of Chatfield, MN, seeded cereal rye in October, 2020, with their combine by attaching a Gandy seed box.



Growing Cover Crops as Forage in Wisconsin

Compacted clay soils and wet planting conditions are no match for Wisconsin no-tiller Adam Lasch, whose experiments in diversification provide fodder for his livestock while rehabbing the land.



Profitably Managing Livestock & Cover Crops in South Dakota

In this episode of the Cover Crop Strategies podcast, South dakota farmers Barry and Eli Little explain how their 2,500 acres of cropland and pastureland have improved by incorporating covers and ruminant animals on every acre.



Farming with Covers is Like ‘Playing Chess’

Minnesota grower Tom Cotter shares how he strategically uses cover crops, as well as tips on seeding varieties and successfully grazing livestock on covers.


SDSU Extension collateral


Herbicide Residual Effects on Cover Crops after Wheat

One benefit of small grains is that harvest occurs early enough to allow sufficient time to grow cover crops in the same season. When determining whether to plant a cover crop after wheat harvest, it’s important to consider the potential impact the residual activity of the herbicide(s) used on wheat could have on the cover crop.


Herbicide Residual Effects on Cover Crops after Corn Silage

Silage is an important feed source for livestock. However, silage harvesting removes residue and leaves soil exposed and susceptible to erosion. In South Dakota, there is usually time in the season to plant a cool season cover crop after corn silage harvest. Planting a cover crop can improve soil health by providing protection to the soil, increasing plant diversity, and maintaining a living root for a longer timeframe.


Herbicide Interactions with Cover Crops after Oats