The Ohio Soil Health Initiative (OSHI) is a coalition of farmers, organizations, soil scientists, and agency representatives committed to improving soil health. Farmers realize multiple positive outcomes from soil health investments. We can do more to provide resources and support to ensure their success in implementing validated soil health practices.
OSHI is working to establish a soil health task force to continue the process of hearing directly from farmers about their current practices, additional measures they want to adopt, and barriers they face doing so. The task force will also review legislation that has been implemented in states across the country to identify best practices for Ohio.
The Benefits of Soil Health are Clear
Healthy soils hold more water, reduce run-off, and protect water quality. Healthy soil practices build soil fertility reducing the need for fertilizer and providing a positive return on investment for farmers. Additionally, as we see the impacts of ever-increasing extreme weather events, these practices also sequester carbon to mitigate harmful greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change and build on-farm resilience.
Members and Advisors
- Soil scientists
- Soil and Water Conservation Districts
- Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association
- Ohio Farmers Union
- Green Umbrella
- The Nature Conservancy
- The Arthur Morgan Institute for Community Solutions
- The Ohio Environmental Council
- American Farmland Trust
Policy Grounded in Farmer Experiences
Our collective work on soil health is grounded in the experience and needs of Ohio farmers. OEFFA has been holding listening sessions to gather feedback on current soil health practices, additional practices farmers want to use, and the barriers and challenges they face in doing so. This will help us to learn from their experience and to identify policies and programs that will best serve those needs.
Soil Health Ambassadors
OEFFA values work rooted in farmer-to farmer peer networking and education, so we’re excited to start a Soil Health Ambassador program to provide individualized assistance on soil health. While most of the modest farmers we work with do not consider themselves “experts,” they have decades of experience with ecological farming practices aimed at maximizing soil health and are willing to share their expertise.
If you are interested in connecting with one of OEFFA’s Soil Health Ambassadors to hear about their lessons learned and to share the soil health goals for your farm and the challenges you face, contact OEFFA today.
If you are an experienced farmer interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise with other farmers, we are looking to identify one or two additional Soil Health Ambassadors to be part of our network.
State Policy Grounded in National Expertise
OEFFA is a member of the National Healthy Soils Policy Network, and incubator for state-level healthy soils policy across the country. We are also members of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Organic Coalition. National and state expertise is grounded in the experience of Ohio farmers, with the goal of bringing Ohio into the fold of states who are realizing the imperative of investing in soil health policy.
Contact us today to share your interest in soil health and be part of this work!