Soil Health

When it comes to yields, the health of your soil cannot be understated. Soil stores and cycles the water and nutrients that your crops need to grow. When the health of your soil declines, your whole operation suffers. 

Your South Dakota soybean checkoff is committed to helping you bolster and maintain the health of your soil by providing you readily available resources and even an in-house expert to ensure you have the best soil management practices in place.

Meet the Expert

Taylor Elverson is the Soil Health Coordinator for South Dakota Soybean Association. Growing up on a farm in southern Minnesota, Taylor has always had a passion for production agriculture and being a good steward of the land. This led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in agronomy along with a master’s degree in plant pathology, both from South Dakota State University.

In her role as Soil Health Coordinator, Taylor provides soil health education and conservation education practices to farmers. She is also able to connect growers with a mentor network where they can receive personalized conservation tactics – ensuring success for South Dakota farmers for years to come.

Five Principles You Can Implement Today

There are five principles that you can implement right now to increase your soil health. 

Soil Cover

Before you can begin to build soil health, erosion needs to be minimized as much as possible. Taylor recommends keeping plant residue on the surface. 

Limited Disturbance

In order to start building soil aggregates, pore spaces, soil biology and organic matter, Taylor recommends minimizing tillage as much as possible.

Living Roots

Cover crops can add carbon to the soil, providing a great food source for microorganisms. Taylor recommends feeding the soil with plants growing throughout the year.

Implement Diversity

Diversify with three or more crops and cover crops. Taylor recommends using cool and warm season grasses and as many broadleaf plants as possible. 

Integrate Livestock

Proper grassland management is vital for soil health. Taylor recommends livestock grazing of cover crops in the fall and winter.


Find more information on each of these soil health pillars. 

Download the PDF. 


Have questions about where to start or what is the best fit for your operation?

Ask Taylor.

Find a Mentor

No one is better suited to walk you through these conservation tactics than South Dakota ag producers. When you connect with the South Dakota Mentor Network you’ll be connected to other area producers who will share their conservation experiences with you and provide you with free, personalized advice – saving you time and money.

Contact Taylor to get set up with a mentor near you.