Advancing Soil Health & Water Stewardship

Climate change is rapidly accelerating and straining the natural resources that our food system — and all of life — depend on. Agriculture is a major driver of greenhouse gas emissions and a leading user of water, but it also has tremendous potential to drive high-impact climate solutions.

Why it matters

MBOLD is working to make Minnesota a global leader in soil health and water stewardship by developing scalable agronomic, market and engagement systems that enable farmers to adopt soil health principles profitably.

Working hand-in-hand with partners across the value chain, we are accelerating adoption of practices that build and regenerate healthy soils, sequester carbon, improve water quality and support the well-being of farmers and ranchers by diversifying farm incomes.

What MBOLD is doing

MBOLD is piloting on-the-ground efforts to help farmers adopt soil health principles like reducing soil disturbance, keeping the soil covered with living plants throughout the year and extending crop rotations. We are committed to crafting strategies that acknowledge, manage and reduce the risks farmers face as they consider how new farming practices can transition to new farming practices.

Engaging farmers in Minnesota's Red River Valley
MBOLD is working with farmers to advance soil health innovation in the Red River Valley, a major producer of sugar beets, wheat, corn and other commodities. In collaboration with the Wilkin County (MN) Soil & WaterConservation District, General Mills and Cargill, we are helping farmers adapt soil health principles to their unique context in the Red River Valley through cost-share funding for growers, education, technical assistance and evaluation of the impact of these practices on farm economics.
Co-designing commercialization pathways for the cover crop "winter camelina"
Cover crops and more diversified crop rotations are critical for healthy soil, water stewardship and greater resiliency in the face of a changing climate. To achieve scale, these practices must be an economically compelling choice for farmers and buyers alike. Cash cover crops, which farmers can sell rather than plow under, are central for aligning market forces with desired changes on the agricultural landscape. MBOLD is partnering with the University of Minnesota Forever Green Project and the business community to evaluate and create market opportunities for winter camelina to complement the typical corn/soy crop rotation, meet growing demand for more sustainable food, feed and biofuels, and diversify farmer incomes.
Fueling Development and Testing of Carbon and Water Credit Systems 
Compensating farmers for the environmental benefits their land provides through mechanisms like carbon and water credits is key for increasing adoption of regenerative farming practices. MBOLD is collaborating with The Nature Conservancy and the Ecosystem Services Marketplace Consortium (ESMC) to develop and test credit systems through a new pilot project in Minnesota. MBOLD has catalyzed a $2.0 million investment in the pilot by Hormel, Target and General Mills to support enrollment of 50,000 acres of farmland in 2023.  Interested farmers are encouraged to contact  You can learn more  and watch our video.

See more of MBOLD in action

We are pioneering development of a circular economy for flexible packaging and films in the Upper Midwest.

Learn more