Youth Soil Health Investigators

Final report for YENC20-147

Project Type: Youth Educator
Funds awarded in 2020: $4,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Minnesota Soil Health Coalition
Region: North Central
State: Minnesota
Project Manager:
Mark Gutierrez
Minnesota Soil Health Coalition
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Project Information


Students will learn on farms from farmers about regenerative agriculture, taught how to complete field soil health testing, be provided with tools to complete testing, and provide testing services to area farmers. Outreach will include social media, website, pictures, videos, literature, and presenting at the MN Soil Health Coalition’s Annual Meeting. Students will be provided the opportunity to learn a variety of management practices, have discussions with farmers, understand how economics, natural resources, and farming can positively work together. The students will also gain experience with public speaking and educating farmers.

Project Objectives:
  1. Engage and educate students on soil health principles, implementation, and economics through hands on, in field learning from farmers.
  2. The students will work with farmers to understand how management impacts the soil, how to measure soil health, and for the students to use what they have learned to test other farmers' soil and educate them on regenerative agriculture practices.
  3. The students will be involved in outreach activities to foster their public speaking and messaging of pertinent agricultural issues.
  4. Working with a variety of farmers and technical staff will provide experiences with career options for students.


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Educational & Outreach Activities

3 Consultations
1 On-farm demonstrations
8 Online trainings
1 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

2 Farmers/ranchers
32 Youth
2 Educators
Education/outreach description:

Farmers and educators have been working together to provide students with information about soil health practices and why they are important for our natural resources and crop production.  Two farmers provided students with information on how soil health practice implementation is completed in a common cropping system in their area.  Videos on how to complete soil health testing, what the results signify, and how to improve test results have been created and provided for educators to use with their students in not only the FFA chapter, but with their agriculture and science students.

Videos found:

Soil Health Bucket Overview

Water Infiltration

Measuring Residue

Measuring Soil Temperature

Measuring Compaction

Slake Testing

Measuring Soil Biology

Assessing Soil Structure

Learning Outcomes

17 Youth reporting change in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness
Key changes:
  • Agricultural production, soil health practices, soil health practice implementation

Results and discussion:

Students learned on the farm from farmers about agricultural production of corn and soybeans and integrating soil health practices.  The farmers explained how and why they use soil health practices in their management to improve their production, soil and water resources, and increase their economic returns while students were able to experience first hand implementation on the farm.

Project Outcomes

1 Grant received that built upon this project
2 New working collaborations
Explanation for change in organizational support to explore and teach sustainable ag:

Built relationships with the Redwood FFA director and educator to include farmers providing education to youth.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.