Published: April 1, 2020

Category: Regenerative Agriculture, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

A 2019 survey of farmers in South Dakota has found that those who use soil health practices report increased profitability, more resilience to extreme weather, less stress, and greater satisfaction with farming than farmers who don’t use soil health practices.

This 2019 farmer/rancher stress survey was conducted by South Dakota State University for the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition, and supported by the South Dakota office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Participants in the survey results who are referred to as “Voices for Soil Health” are South Dakota farmers and ranchers who use practices that improve soil health, and are committed to promoting the use of these practices in their communities and across the state.

The purpose of the survey was to measure levels of stress reported by South Dakota farmers and ranchers, specifically comparing “Voices for Soil Health” participants and “non-participant” farmers.

The Voices for Soil Health participants scored higher on many of the questions than non-participants:

  • 80% of participants said their farming/ranching system was more resilient to extreme weather compared to 60% of non-participants.
  • 31% of participants said their farm/ranch profitability increased in the past year compared to 12% of non-participants.
  • 69% of participants said they were confident that their farm/ranch profitability will increase in the next 3-5 years compared with 36% of non-participants.
  • 66% of participants said they are confident that they can reduce fertilizer/chemical inputs in the next 3-5 years compared to 28% of non-participants.
  • A significantly higher percent of participants reported being satisfied with farming/ranching this past year compared to non-participants (71% vs. 43%).
  • A significantly higher percent of participants predicted being satisfied with farming/ranching in the coming 3-5 years compared to non-participants (83% vs. 46%)
  • A significantly higher percent of participants reported greater fun and less stress in the way they farm/ranch compared to non-participants.

The survey concludes: “For most of the variables evaluated, participants in the South Dakota Voices for Soil Health reported less stress and greater confidence and satisfaction compared to non-participants.”

Source: South Dakota Soil Health Coalition

To view full survey, visit: