Agricultural Marketing Case Studies

award winning project

Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line


Soil Health Partnership/Environmental Defense Fund

Project Summary

Planning, Research, Program Objectives and Purposes:
To expand on growing information around the profitability of conservation agriculture, Soil Health Partnership (SHP), Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and K·Coe Isom collaborated to evaluate the financial impact of conservation tillage and cover crop usage among Midwest corn and soybean farmers. The goals of this project were to:

  • Compare crop budgets for fields using conventional vs. conservation practices
  • Identify benefits, opportunities and limiting factors associated with common conservation approaches
  • Help farmers and their business partners better understand the financial dynamics of conservation practice adoption

To achieve these goals, surveys and interviews were conducted with seven farmers throughout the Midwest to better understand their production practices and related financial impacts. The result of this research is the report, Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line.

Target Audiences:
  • Conventional Midwest Crop Farmers: The mission of SHP is to promote the adoption of soil health practices for economic and environmental benefit. As a program of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA), emphasis for communications is placed on reaching traditional crop farmers (specifically in the Midwest) in hopes of increasing soil health practice use at scale (not just on small and niche farms).
  • Key Stakeholders: Federal and state agencies, farmer associations, agricultural lenders, food and grain supply chain companies, and conservation organizations who can integrate financial data gathering within their programs to inform their conservation solutions and to support farmers in establishing profitable conservation systems.
Strategies/Communication Techniques:

A three-part report was generated, including: a PDF summary report, PDF one-pagers for each of the report’s key takeaways, and digital content at Due to COVID-19 and the targeted audiences, it was necessary to generate the report in multiple formats, allowing for both long- and short-format copy as well as print and digital production (hard copies are included in this application for reference, but the report has only existed in a digital format for client usage to-date).

The report was promoted through a variety of platforms, including The People of Soil Health Podcast, the Soil Sessions webinar series, SHP’s monthly e-newsletter, SHP’s and EDF’s blogs, a press release and virtual press conference for ag media, and a virtual session during the 2021 Commodity Classic.

Evaluation & Feedback:

This report was one of the most effective projects in SHP’s history. Across all report-related communications, we garnered:

  • 59,861 impressions and 3,228 engagements for a 5.4% engagement rate
  • $0.53 cost per impression and $9.91 cost per engagement
  • 565 downloads of the PDF summary report
  • 4,694 page views of digital report-related content
  • 26 media placements (earned)

In addition to these metrics, this report will continue to provide intangible benefits as it is used in stakeholder conversations to advocate for additional conservation resources for farmers.