Improving agricultural management practices to improve soil health, reduce nutrient runoff into area waterways, conserve water, and increase crop yields and quality. We collaborate with industry, research centers, agencies and environmental organizations to advance multidisciplinary and whole system management practices for the agricultural lands that impact our nation’s waters.
Read a summary of our agricultural work here.
Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters
Along with universities and organizations, we are working to advance regenerative agriculture practices to reduce soil erosion, prevent nutrient runoff, and support economically and environmentally resilient farms through engagement with carbon markets. We are investigating ways to “demystify” regenerative agriculture by measuring specific microbes associated with beneficial soil traits.
Soil and water research and policy leaders, headed by The Ohio State University with support from Greenleaf Advisors, LLC, Greenleaf Communities, and the University of Arkansas launched a workshop and symposium series dedicated to the development of multidisciplinary and whole system management practices for the agricultural lands that impact our nation’s waters. A collaborative multi-year effort, the series has been organized around the development of data-driven, case studies highlighting conservation practices to reduce nutrient exports to water resources, improve soil quality, and increase yields. In 2020, we organized a sensor technology workshop with the Illinois State Water Survey and Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to benefit agricultural soil health for water use efficiency, carbon sequestration and plant nutrient availability.
Soil health and regenerative agriculture - sensors, technology, and markets
There is a growing interest in smart agriculture that allows farmers to maximize yields while using minimal inputs as well as an interest from the market in minimizing risk and investing in the protection of soil, water, and carbon resources. By deploying sensors and mapping fields, farmers can begin to understand soil health and crop production at a micro scale, conserve resources, and reduce impacts on the environment. We are continuing this initiative by collaborating with researchers and farmers on scaling and improving technologies and connecting farmers to markets for compensation of management practices that protect soil, water, and climate.
Gypsum as a Best Management Practice
Nutrient runoff from agricultural fields impacts the integrity of aquatic ecosystems, and the quality of water resources across the country. Excess phosphorus contributes to annual algal blooms in Great Lakes systems, killing wildlife, polluting drinking water with toxins, and disrupting economic growth. Gypsum is shown to reduce phosphorus loading from fields. Greenleaf, alongside our research and industry partners, helped inform NRCS Conservation Practice Standard Code 333 on the use of gypsum as a soil amendment.
Research results in the Maumee Basin of Ohio (led by The Ohio State University) and the Walnut Creek watershed in Indiana (led by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) demonstrate how gypsum helps sediment and nutrients stay on the land and out of the water.
Perennial Biomass to Reduce Nitrates
Agricultural production in the Midwest has been associated with nutrient resource losses through water, causing eutrophication in Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds, local impairment of drinking water sources, and Gulf Hypoxia.
Greenleaf provided communications, development, and outreach for Argonne National Laboratory on its agricultural research in Illinois where they study the growth of native grasses in otherwise unproductive farmland to produce bioenergy crops, thereby reducing nutrient pollutant flows into streams and sequestering greenhouse gases in soils.
The daily flood of bad news, from the pandemic, record-breaking wildfires, floods and hurricanes, economic devastation, and racial injustice, begs the question: how do we address the root causes of these problems and achieve beneficial impact?
Greenleaf Communities seeks to discover, share and apply solutions that sustain resources – water, soil, and climate – and therefore our communities. We work with experts and scientists, including Nobel prize winners, business leaders, and partners in mission-driven organizations.
Greenleaf bridges expertise in science, policy, and business to advance solutions for a healthy and sustainable world. On August 17th, we presented on climate mitigation and adaptation, a ‘One Water’ approach in northern Illinois, and building resilient agricultural systems for soil health, carbon sequestration, and water quality/quantity benefits. John Andersen led off by reflecting on […]
Join us in September for a webinar series on “Agricultural Management Practices and Data Usage for Soil Health”
The Healthy Soils for Healthy Waters Webinar Series in September 2020 is a continuance of our March Workshop focusing on innovative soil sensor technologies and monitoring tools to benefit carbon, water, and nutrient management for sustainable agriculture.
We reflect on contributions made by some of our expert Board Members toward environmental and human health and highlight actions that we are taking to protect our future. We welcome working with you on protecting natural resources for a healthy and sustainable world.