New Project to Help Redefine What a “Beautiful Field” Looks Like

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new project by the National Wildlife Federation and Minnesota Soil Health Coalition will help redefine what healthy farms and working lands look like, showing that “beautiful fields” can often be more sustainable in the long run. The project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, will improve the adoption of sustainable and climate resilient agricultural practices. 
“Fields full of cover crops are often perceived as messy, wild and unmanaged whereas a tilled, black field is seen as clean and neat and ideal. Yet the benefits of the former for wildlife, soil health, and farmers cannot be overstated,” said Jessica Espenshade, conservation outreach manager at the National Wildlife Federation. “This project seeks to change the definition of a beautiful field from a fallow field to a field with healthy soil that is untilled and has a continuous living root. Traditional social norms in agriculture are often a forgotten barrier to sustainable agriculture practice adoption. That is why we are thrilled that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is highlighting and prioritizing social science outreach and research. We are excited to work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and our partners at the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition to tackle this barrier.”
"We think that soil health is beautiful. That is why the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition is excited to partner with the National Wildlife Federation to shift the perception of what a beautiful field is,” said Mark Gutierrez, executive director of the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition. “We know that soil health practices increase resiliency and profit per acre, and we want to show off the beauty of these practices."
This grant is a conservation innovation grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for the development of innovative practices and approaches to better conservation practices on private lands. Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s conservation work on working lands.


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