We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

Please use a new browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge to improve your experience.

We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator

Access the Calculator

Fill out the form below for FREE access to the Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator and the 19 associated training materials used in this project. With these materials, you will be equipped to create your own case studies. Filling out the form will also allow us to contact you with updates to the resources.

The Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator is an Excel-based partial budget analysis tool for quantifying the benefits and costs experienced by “already soil health successful farmers.” It is designed to evaluate the economic effects of the following soil health practices:  no-till or reduced tillage, cover cropping, nutrient management, and conservation crop rotation. The tool can be used with row crop farmers that have adopted any one or a combination of these practices, ideally for four or more years, and within the last 10 years.

The tool can be used on farms growing any combination of corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay and employs partial budgeting analysis (PBA) to calculate the change in net income due to the four soil health practices. The calculator relies on a combination of user inputs and standardized cost and price information built into the tool.

Whenever possible, national prices or costs are used to avoid biasing the results in cases where a farmer’s prices may not be representative of typical prices. The Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator was developed for use in Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states but could be used elsewhere with price or cost adjustments as needed. Results are displayed in a PBA table on an annual basis per acre AND for the entire study area.

AFT used the Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator to develop the partial budget analysis for eight case studies of soil health successful farmers in California, Illinois, Ohio, and New York as part of the methods of a Conservation Innovation Grant, “Quantifying the Economic and Environmental Benefits of Soil Health.”

Predictive Soil Health Economic Calculator Coming Soon!

AFT has developed a Predictive Soil Health Economic Calculator (P-SHEC) tool to use with farmers who are “on the fence” about conservation practice adoption. The tool will help estimate the potential short-term and long-term costs and benefits of adopting soil health practices. Our AFT Staff Team is testing the P-SHEC tool right now with “soil health curious” farmers in California, Illinois, Ohio, and New York. Once we have road-tested the tool, we will release it to the public, sometime in spring or summer 2021.   

AFT has also begun the development of an online version of the economic tools. We hope to release a beta version of the online R-SHEC tool in spring 2021.  


If you have questions about these resources, please contact AFT’s Soil Health Case Study Project Leader and Water Initiative Director, Dr. Michelle Perez at mperez@farmland.org. For troubleshooting assistance with the R-SHEC tool, please contact Florence Swartz, AFT’s Consulting Economist on the Soil Health Case Study Project, at floswartz.aft@gmail.com.