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.
Ready to take action?
Connect with experts and farmers in the Saginaw Bay to take meaningful action to improve your soil health today.
Saginaw Valley Farmers
For a sustainable future, one of the most important questions to address is how to feed a growing population while also protecting clean water. Today, farmers across Saginaw Bay are working together to change their soil practices.
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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!
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.
Connect Saginaw Valley farms and conservation through a suite of incentivization projects.
Provide workshops and resources on soil health and water quality to the farmers who need them.
Work with agribusinesses, crop advisors, food companies and agencies to adopt conservation practices.
Leverage data and research to focus our work in the places that can have the biggest positive impact.
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.
Nominate a Farmer
If you know of a Soil Health Hero in the eligible area, please nominate them. If you have more than one nomination, submit a form for each candidate. You can even nominate yourself!
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.
2021 Soil Health Hero Awardees
TNC bestowed its 3rd generation of Soil Health Hero awards on January 27, 2022, at the Annual Great Lakes Crop Summit. A premier agricultural event, this program brings together thousands of community members to learn and share the latest best practices, tools and resources—and to hear from innovators, like our Soil Health Heroes, that are leading the way in the industry.
To learn more about each awardee, download the program booklet, or watch the feature videos. Thank you to our selection committee and event sponsors: Cook Family Foundation, Star of the West and Carhartt.
|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|
TNC’s Soil Health & Nutrient program connects farmers with the latest research, technical resources, peer networks, program offerings and even direct technical assistance at times—all to support farmers.
We host a variety of events throughout the year including coffee convos and the soil health awards.Learn More
Become a Farm Advisor
Join our Farmer Advisory Council to help other farmers adopt healthy soil practices.Get Started
Work With Us
Collaborate with us on Lunch & Learns, CEU's, field days, events, expos and more!Contact Us
Are you working hard to build soil health in your fields? Let your neighbors and landlords know by displaying one of these "Healthy Soil Field Signs"!Request Your Sign
Farming Saginaw Valley
Explore soil health practices used in the Saginaw Valley and learn how you can implement them.
Hear from experts and farmers across the Saginaw Bay during our coffee convos. Click on the tiles to access the recordings of past webinars.
Check out these resources available for Saginaw Bay farmers.
A tool for evaluating, tracking and reporting water quality and groundwater recharge improvements at watershed and field scales.
Evaluate fields, generate reports and protect sensitive areas.
A whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system.
Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), an automated system to map tillage, residue cover, winter cover and soil health practices using remote sensing data.
A platform for visualizing how past and future management changes soil organic carbon stocks globally.
More Soil Health Stories
FeatureConservation Where Soil and Water Meet
In Michigan, farmers are stewards of the land and Saginaw Bay Watershed
VideoHealthy Soil, Clean Water (0:56)
The Nature Conservancy is working with farmers to implement voluntary, industry-led approaches to improve soil health.
VideoFarming 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!
Start a Group
We'll provide you with the resources to get started including logistical support, free advertising materials, stipends for meeting supplies and more!
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.