One Good Idea is a new online platform and campaign to help farmers get started and have success with soil health and regenerative practices. Created by a multi-state team of university Extension professionals and farmers, One Good Idea was designed to facilitate farmer-to-farmer learning about practices that can improve soil, land, and bottom lines, such as cover crops, conservation tillage, rotational grazing, and nutrient management.
As a clearinghouse of videos and podcasts that feature farmers’ ideas and experiences with these practices, One Good Idea creates a centralized location for farmers to learn from their peers about what has worked or hasn’t, the benefits and precautions, and other nuts and bolts of using conservation practices on their operations. This content is crowdsourced and has been contributed by university Extension, nonprofits, government agencies, farmer-led groups and individual farmers from across the Midwest and Mid-south.
“Interest in soil health and other farming practices that enhance resource stewardship is growing among producers, but a barrier to getting started can be a limited knowledge and resources to minimize the risk of trying a new practice. With One Good Idea, we want to reduce barriers by connecting farmers with a toolbox of first-hand experiences to help them have success, avoid pitfalls, and realize they don’t have to go it alone,” said Beth Baker, assistant extension professor at Mississippi State University who leads the collaboration that produced One Good Idea.
To further encourage idea sharing among farmers, One Good Idea is also running a social media campaign with the hashtag #WhatsYourGoodIdea on Twitter and Facebook. Farmers and professionals who work with farmers – such as Extension agents, farm advisors and conservation professionals – are encouraged to participate.
“YouTube and social media have become important resources for more and more farmers who want to learn and connect about soil health and regenerative practices. We want to make it easier for farmers to find the valuable content that already exists and amplify the ideas of farmers who are trying to make a difference for their operations and communities,” said Jenny Seifert, watershed outreach specialist at University of Wisconsin-Madison Division of Extension, who led the creation of One Good Idea.
Seifert says two key aspects of One Good Idea are its focus on ideas that are by farmers and for farmers, and its emphasis on ideas that are based in evidence, whether it’s research or practical on-farm experience. Some of the content also contains insights from non-farmer experts, such as researchers or farm advisors.
“Farmers often look to each other for information that can help them make decisions on how to improve or maintain their operations, and they want accurate, fact-based information,” said Seifert, adding that all content is vetted to meet these criteria.
One Good Idea accepts video or idea submissions from farmers who are willing to share how they are implementing soil health and regenerative practices on their operations to help other farmers who are considering such practices. The platform also welcomes content submissions from organizations or individuals who work with farmers to implement these practices.
“Our vision is for One Good Idea to keep growing with new content and make it a go-to place for producers who want to make good decisions to improve the resilience of their operations and protect farming legacies,” said Seifert.
“As a farmer, the two most valuable things that I can invest in are my own personal knowledge and my soil. The One Good Idea platform brings both of these together,” said Kentucky farmer Cody Rakes, who was one of the farmers who helped create One Good Idea. “Having a place to investigate practices grounded by other farmers will be a tremendous asset to my operation.”
One Good Idea is the product of a collaboration between Mississippi State University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Kentucky, University of Arkansas, and University of Illinois. It will operate under the auspices of SERA-46, a committee that includes these land grant universities and others in the Mississippi River Basin and is focused on research and extension to improve water quality in the Basin and shrink the Hypoxic Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. Funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency made One Good Idea possible.