FORT PAYNE, Ala. — Farmers and ranchers are facing record-breaking synthetic fertilizer costs heading into the 2022 growing season, compounding already challenging economic conditions for producers throughout the country.
In response, the non-profit Soil Health Academy today announced it is expanding the organization’s scholarship program so more farmers can attend its on-farm schools and learn how to significantly reduce fertilizer use by implementing low-input, regenerative agricultural principles.
“Thanks to generous donations from a number of our donors, we’re further expanding our scholarship program so more farmers and ranchers—many of whom were already struggling economically— can benefit from SHA’s regenerative agriculture schools at this critical time,” SHA president Dawn Breitkreutz, said. “We know from SHA’s surveys and from the letters we receive from our graduates that the principles and practices we teach in our on-farm schools reduce reliance on synthetic inputs, especially synthetic fertilizers. Reducing these costly inputs translates into improved farm profitability.”
North Dakota farmer Brandon Bock is one of those graduates.
“Cutting back on inputs, in particular, has put us in a better financial place than if we hadn’t attended a Soil Health Academy and gone down the regenerative path,” Bock said. “In the old model, we were constantly working harder and harder, spraying more and getting the same or less net revenue. Now if the price of fertilizer or herbicide goes up, I say, ‘Who cares? We don’t need as much of it. We can adapt to less.’”
Farmers can apply for scholarships to attend any of the eight scheduled SHA regenerative farming schools in 2022, including “Regenerative Farming and Ranching” in Chico, California, March 15-17, and “Cropping Success Through Regen Ag,” in Kenansville, North Carolina, March 29-31.
Like the on-farm school Bock attended, SHA schools feature instruction from a cadre of world-renowned experts who provide a mix of demonstrations, expert presentations and hands-on experience—all of which are geared to help producers quickly and practically restore soil health, reduce synthetic inputs, improve nutrient cycling and increase net per-acre profits.
“While SHA places an emphasis on providing scholarships to assist historically underserved groups, women, military veterans and new and beginning farmers, we’re stepping up our efforts to help any farmer—especially those facing financial hardships,” Breitkreutz said. “As a farmer myself, I can attest to the transformative power SHA schools offer, and I encourage more producers to take advantage of these expanded scholarship opportunities.”
For more information about SHA’s upcoming schools and to apply for a school scholarship, visit www.SoilHealthAcademy.org .
–Soil Health Academy