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.”