In this project, our sponsors, the USDA-NRCS’s East National Technology Service Center, asked us to recount our soil health story in South Carolina. As we all know, the soil health movement is really a grassroots thing driven by farmers and this story is no different. Our South Carolina soil health adventure began with a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) that was awarded to the Richland Conservation District who partnered with us and 5 farmers in Dillon, Marlboro and Richland Counties, SC.
In the Farmer Scientists project we discuss the beginnings, namely the CIG and some of the results we found. The emphasis of this story, however, is what actually happened to the five farmers who participated in these CIG’s, how, as they saw the benefits of soil health first hand, they began to implement changes on their farms themselves. We coined a phrase early on in the project that “research begets research”, so you’ll see the farmers spend a good deal of other research that was born out of the questions of the original CIG.