Soil Health Policy in the United States and Abroad
Andrew W. Stevens
Healthy soils are integral components of sustainable and resilient agricultural systems. Recently, policymakers in the United States and around the world have become increasingly interested in ways to build and conserve healthy soils. The articles in this theme highlight how economics can inform effective soil health policy domestically and abroad.
Andrew W. Stevens
Healthy soils provide agronomic and environmental benefits to both farmers and society at large. However, soils around the world continue to deteriorate, prompting questions about the role of policy in supporting soil health. This article discusses a dynamic economic model highlighting opportunities for effective soil health policy.
Kichan Kim and Leah Bevis
The low-input nature of semi-subsistence agriculture in developing countries generates multiple connections between soil fertility and poverty. We summarize three such links, informed by research from economics, soil science, and nutrition: agricultural productivity, trace mineral deficiency in soils, crops, and humans, and the implications of soil fertility for development.
Maria Bowman and Lori Lynch
This article summarizes federal and state programs in the United States that pay for soil health practices such as no-tillage, reduced tillage, or cover crops. We focus on Maryland’s cover crop program experience to inform the design of future programs that pay for soil-health-related practices.
Julia Berazneva and David Güereña
Using examples from Kenya and Nepal, we distill some valuable lessons on soil research and management in tropical and subtropical smallholder systems. We discuss the importance of accounting for competitive uses of organic resources, farmers’ shorter-term horizons and risk aversion, lack of soil fertility information, and applications of digital technologies.