Episodes
In this final episode of The People of Soil Health podcast, host and SHP Senior Director John Mesko reflects on the legacy of Soil Health Partnership, the people who have made our work possible and how the organization’s impact will live on for many years to come.
Published 05/25/21
Published 05/25/21
Trey Hill is the co-owner and operator of Harborview Farms in Maryland, and he’s been part of the SHP farmer network since 2017. Trey was recently featured in an article in The Washington Post focused on carbon credits and, in this episode, he sits down with host John Mesko to talk about how he got involved in that work. If you’re interested in farmers’ role in the climate change discussion, this is an episode you’ll want to tune into! 
Published 05/18/21
Host John Mesko sits down with Iowa farmer Chris Gaesser to discuss creative ways to make cover crops cost effective for your farm. Chris started working with SHP in 2016 and was one of the seven farmers featured in our recent report, Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line.
Published 05/11/21
In this episode of The People of Soil Health Podcast, host John Mesko sits down with Nick Ward, president of Ward Laboratories. The two discuss what Nick’s team looks for when testing soil samples, why soil samples should be pulled annually, and some helpful advice on when and how to pull your soil samples for the most accurate data sets.
Published 05/04/21
In this episode of The People of Soil Health Podcast, host John Mesko sits down with Ken Rosenow – one of the SHP farmers who was instrumental in the creation of our recent report, Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line. Ken is the sixth generation on his family’s farm in Wisconsin and shares how he embraces that history while evolving for the future.
Published 04/20/21
Host John Mesko is joined by his colleague and fellow leadership team member – SHP’s Field Development Director, Elyssa McFarland. The pair discuss the history of the Soil Health Partnership, SHP’s current focus, and the future goals and opportunities they see on the horizon. Episode Resources: Conservation's Impact on the Farm Bottom Line An update on the work and impact of SHP
Published 04/06/21
Host John Mesko is joined by Daryl Maple, co-owner and operator of Maple Farms in north-central Indiana. Daryl discusses his five-year partnership with SHP and what they’ve learned while trialing different conservation practices – including reduced tillage and cover crops.
Published 03/23/21
Host John Mesko is joined by Boone McAfee, director of research and stewardship for the Nebraska Corn Board, to discuss Boone’s efforts around encouraging and providing education and resources to farmers as they improve environmental stewardship not only their individual operation, but in the agriculture industry as a whole. They talk through Boone’s many partnership efforts on state and national initiatives related to supply chain sustainability, ag innovation, soil health and natural...
Published 03/09/21
Host John Mesko is joined by SHP Lead Scientist Maria Bowman and Environmental Defense Fund Research Analyst Vincent Gauthier to discuss findings from their new report, Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line. They discuss the importance of collecting detailed financial information when talking about conservation practice adoption and some of the key takeaways from their study. You can find the full report now at soilhealthpartnership.org/farmfinance. 
Published 02/23/21
Host John Mesko is joined by Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune – Director of the Soil Health Division for the USDA NRCS – to learn more about the agency’s work, how they partner with groups like SHP to help farmers implement soil health practices, and why she sees soil health benefits extending beyond agriculture.
Published 02/09/21
Host John Mesko is joined by Missouri farmers Joshlin & Addie Yoder, who share more about their farm and the work they’re doing with SHP. In this conversation, Joshlin and Addie dig into their journey back to farming after college, what receiving the 2020 Missouri Leopold Conservation Award meant to them, and how they are using a podcast and social media to share their story with the non-farming public.
Published 01/26/21
Host, John Mesko, is joined by Soil Health Partnership Field Manager John Stewart to discuss a new program in Kentucky focused on new approaches to cover crop seeding. As part of an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), Stewart is working with farmers to trial alternative ways to apply cover crop seed in order to reduce passes across the field, saving time and money.
Published 01/12/21
Host John Mesko sits down with Illinois farmer Jason Lay to talk about his experience with conservation and soil health practices. Jason shares about the unique challenges and opportunities that come with farming near a population center, how and why he got involved with Soil Health Partnership’s on-farm research program, and the evolution he’s seen in how his landowners view soil health approaches on the ground he rents.
Published 12/29/20
Host John Mesko is joined by SHP farmer Mikayla Tabert who, along with her family at Trinity Creek Ranch, have a diverse, multi-generational farm in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. In their conversation, Mikayla and John discuss why Trinity Creek values diversification of both crops and livestock, the realities of farming in a colder region, why the family enrolled in on-farm research with SHP and how they continue to innovate to reach their goals. Trinity Creek Ranch is one of the most unique...
Published 12/15/20
Host, John Mesko, is joined by Kansas State University professor Dr. Charles (Chuck) Rice to discuss the latest research in soil microbiology. Dr. Rice shares his thoughts on the “Holy Trinity” of soil health – carbon, microbes, and structure – and the role this trifecta can play in factors like water-holding capacity and soil carbon storage. This conversation includes a wealth of knowledge – one you’ll want to tune in for!
Published 12/01/20
Host, John Mesko, is joined by Sustainable Program Manager for Iowa Corn, Ben Gleason, to talk about sustainability and soil health approaches in his state. Ben shares how Iowa farmers are incorporating reduced tillage and cover crops, as well as working on nutrient management strategies that protect water quality. He also shares the benefits of partnering with SHP to raise awareness of the importance of soil health practices.
Published 11/17/20
Host, John Mesko, is joined by Dr. Steve Wood – Senior Scientist for Agriculture and Food Systems with The Nature Conservancy – to discuss a new research database: AgEvidence. This online dashboard brings together more than 16,000 data points from nearly 300 peer-reviewed studies to help farmers and other industry stakeholders learn more about the impact of various soil health practices. Wood shares how AgEvidence got started, its design and how he hopes it will help both researchers and...
Published 11/03/20
Host, John Mesko, sits down with Lisa Kubik – SHP Field Manager in eastern Iowa – to talk about how the farmers she works with are approaching soil health through the lens of incremental change. They discuss a new SHP business case featuring Iowa farmer Roger Zylstra, as well as how Lisa’s family is incorporating soil health practices (like reduced tillage, cover crops, and rotational cattle grazing) on their own farm. Business Case: Roger and Wesley Zylstra
Published 10/20/20
Host, John Mesko, sits down with Keith Byerly, SHP’s Field Team Director–West, to talk about his experiences working with farmers in Nebraska and Kansas. Keith shares about his transition from agricultural retail to research and education with SHP. He also dives into farm data, irrigation, and the importance of relationships – regardless of what part of agriculture you touch.
Published 10/06/20
Host, John Mesko, sits down with Darrick Steen to learn how Missouri Corn and Missouri Soybean support the organizations' farmer members – especially when it comes to soil health and environmental stewardship. Darrick shares how he went from growing up on a turkey farm to helping crop farmers achieve success, how the Missouri Strip Trial Program impacts nutrient management in the region, and why he values tag-teaming with the Soil Health Partnership.
Published 09/22/20
Host, John Mesko, sits down with Kent Solberg to uncover all the ways diversity in farming operations helps improve soil health. Kent Solberg is a livestock and grazing specialist for the Sustainable Farming Association, as well as a field consultant for Understanding Ag – all in addition to being a farmer himself. He is passionate about incorporating plant and livestock diversity into farms, in order to optimize environmental improvements, productivity and profitability. This is a in-depth...
Published 09/08/20
Host, John Mesko, talks with Randy Dell of The Nature Conservancy (TNC) about the dynamics between farmers and landowners when it comes to discussing different conservation practices. They dive into the barriers that get in the way of these conversations, the demographics of non-operating landowners, and tools/best practices farmers can use when talking to their landowners about sustainability and conservation practices (including approaches to improving soil health).
Published 08/25/20
Host, John Mesko, talks with Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute. They discuss what the Soil Health Institute is working on, including analyzing each aspect of soil health and figuring out how to increase farmer adoption. SHI is working on programs to quantify the business case for farmers and identify the best measurements and tools for farmers to select management practices that improve soil health. Show notes
Published 08/11/20
Host, John Mesko, talks with Debbie Reed, executive director of the Ecosystems Services Market Consortium (ESMC), a market designed to sell carbon, water quality and water quantity credits for the agriculture sector. The ESMC considers agriculture an incredibly important component of natural resource preservation and enhancement in our country and helps farmers capitalize on their environmental investments.
Published 07/28/20