Soil Health in Saginaw Valley
In Michigan’s agricultural watersheds, farmers are shifting to practices that restore and sustain long-term soil health and reduce harmful runoff.
Explore resources and tools from The Nature Conservancy to help you make the transition.
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Connecting with farmers is extremely important to our work in soil health and water quality—from getting helpful information into the hands of those who need it, to identifying and supporting champions of conservation
Meet Our Team
If you’re a farmer, you know your livelihood depends on healthy soils. But changing the way you farm can be risky and expensive, and a failed crop is hard to come back from. Our soil health team is here to help. Contact us to learn more!
Soil Health Team
Approach to Soil Health
In Michigan’s agricultural watersheds, most notably the Saginaw Bay watershed and western Lake Erie basin, we are working to support farmers—and make it easier—to shift to practices that restore and sustain long-term soil health.
Saginaw Bay Farmer Stories
Ultimately, we all depend on clean water and fresh food. We believe that productive agriculture and healthy ecosystems can coexist if we address where they intersect: the soil.
Are you interested in taking strategic regenerative steps on your own farm? TNC is committed to connecting farmers with opportunities to build soil health. Click the tiles below to take advantage of one of these programs for Saginaw Bay farmers.
Awardees will join the ranks of prior “Soil Health Heroes” and receive the following award package:
- Sponsored tickets and lodging for the Great Lakes Crop Summit conference in January 2024 for you and a guest, where you will be officially recognized
- Your farm operation is featured in a professionally produced video—a lifetime keepsake!
- Your farm or operation is spotlighted in local press and media to tell your soil health story
- A beautifully framed award photo of a Saginaw Valley landscape
- A certificate of congressional recognition to honor your outstanding achievements in protecting water quality
- Custom-embroidered Carhartt apparel and Soil Health Hero magnet
Soil Health Heroes
We're recognizing the extraordinary achievements of Saginaw Valley farmers who work hard to protect water quality and soil health. Change is risky, but these Soil Health Heroes overcome those challenges to demonstrate a path forward.
2023 Soil Health Hero Awards
Join The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and special guest speaker Mitchell Hora at The Great Lakes Crop Summit as TNC bestows their 4th generation of Soil Health Hero awards, honoring Saginaw Valley farmers that are leading the way in soil health.
The first half of our "Farmer’s Leading Change" session will include an educational presentation from Mitchell Hora on how certain field management practices are being used by farmers around the Midwest to improve resiliency, productivity and overall soil health.
The second half of this session will include a “Soil Health Heroes” award presentation. The awards ceremony will showcase three farmers from the Saginaw Bay Watershed, including their recent accomplishments, testimonials and a brief video presentation on each farm.
|Conservation Excellence Award: Agribusiness | J.J. Metz, Linwood||Conservation Excellence Award: Contributor | Method Products, San Francisco||Conservation Newcomer Award | Scott Brechtelsbauer, Frankentrost|
|Conservation Excellence Award: Practitioner | Huron County Field Office, Bad Axe||Conservation Excellence Award: Practitioner | Joel Leland, Saginaw||Conservation Innovation Award | Don Morse, Birch Run|
|Conservation Excellence Award: Contributor | Paul Sweeney, Maplewood||Conservation Excellence Award: Agribusiness | Justin Krick, Frankenmuth||Conservation Legacy Award | Nate Rupprecht, Vassar|
|Conservation Newcomer Award | Chad Dzurka, Pinconning||Conservation Newcomer Award | Nick Weisenberger, Chesaning||Conservation Impact Award | Pohl Dairy, Mt. Pleasant|
|Conservation Veteran Award | Wayne ""Lee"" Wackerle, Pinconning||Conservation Veteran Award | Jason Haag, Unionville||Conservation Excellence Agribusiness Award | Lisa Woodke, Frankenmuth|
|Conservation Innovation Award | Dan Ritter, Elkton||Conservation Innovation Award | Ryan and Melissa Shaw, Marlette|
|Conservation Impact Award | Steve Tait, Caseville||Conservation Impact Award | Jeffery Krohn, Owendale|
Hear from experts and farmers across the Saginaw Bay during our coffee convos. Click on the tiles to access the recordings of past webinars.
More Soil Health Stories
Conservation Where Soil and Water Meet
In Michigan, farmers are stewards of the land and Saginaw Bay Watershed
Healthy Soil, Clean Water (0:56)
The Nature Conservancy is working with farmers to implement voluntary, industry-led approaches to improve soil health.
Farming for a Stable Climate (1:30)
Farmers are making soils healthier for water, productivity and climate. See what these farmers from Ohio and Iowa are doing.
Farmer-led Watershed Group (FLWG)
An FLWG is a grassroots gathering of local farmers and land managers from the same general area—usually a watershed. These self-governed groups are led by farmers and driven by members! They are independent of any particular organization.
The primary focus of FLWGs is on collaboration and addressing specific needs of the local watershed, such as water quality, rural aesthetics and other local resource concerns.
In short, FLWGs represent a movement toward community ownership over local water quality issues. They are local citizens coming together, helping one another and taking proactive steps to manage and protect their watershed!
Soil Health Newsletter
Connecting with farmers is extremely important to our work in soil health and water quality—from getting helpful information into the hands of those who need it, to identifying and supporting champions of conservation. Register for our comprehensive newsletter for the latest news and information on soil health in the Saginaw Valley.