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Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator

Access the Calculator

Fill out the form below for FREE access to the Row Crop and Almond Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) Tool and associated materials, known as the Soil Health Tool Kit. With this Soil Health Tool Kit, 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 Tool Kit.

The Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) Tool is an Excel-based partial budget analysis tool for quantifying the benefits and costs experienced by already “soil health successful” producers. AFT has released a version for row crops and one for almonds. The row crop version is designed to evaluate the economic effects of the following soil health practices:  no-till or reduced tillage, cover crops, nutrient management, and conservation crop rotation. The almond version evaluates the economic effects of conservation cover, nutrient management, compost application, and mulching. The tool can be used with row crop farmers and almond growers that have adopted any one or a combination of these practices, ideally for four or more years, and within the last 15 years.  

The R-SHEC Tool can be used on row crop farms growing corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay and on almond orchards. The Tool employs partial budgeting analysis (PBA) to calculate the change in net income due to the soil health practices. The calculator relies on user inputs and standardized cost and price information built into the tool. Data is collected through an interview with the producer using the R-SHEC Questionnaire.  

The R-SHEC Tool 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 R-SHEC Tool to develop the partial budget analysis for 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 “soil health curious” row crop farmers and almond growers who are “on the fence” about soil health 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, and Ohio. Once we have road-tested the tool, we will release it to the public, sometime in fall 2021.

AFT will share a preliminary version of the P-SHEC Tool Kit with registrants of a July 26, 2021 Workshop at the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) Annual Conference being held virtually. Deadline to register is July 16.

AFT has also begun the development of an online version of the R-SHEC and P-SHEC Tools. We hope to release the online tool in spring 2022 after we have pilot-tested it with farmers, their advisors, and ag conservation professionals.

Contact Us

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 Ellen Yeatman, AFT’s Water Resources Specialist and Agricultural Economist, at eyeatman@farmland.org