ARDMORE, OKLA. — As part of the Metrics, Management, and Monitoring: An Investigation of Pasture and Rangeland Soil Health and its Drivers, also known as the 3M project, Noble Research Institute LLC has begun field work on a $19 million research initiative. The project will help farmers better understand how soil health can impact grazing and benefit the producer.

Noble, Michigan State University, University of Wyoming, Colorado State University and Quanterra Systems researchers are collecting soil samples, performing water infiltration tests, assembling energy flux monitoring towers and measuring vegetation at participating sites.

Researchers initially gathered field samplings in southern Oklahoma in April, with a second round of sampling at the end of June. Field sampling will also take place at Michigan and Wyoming farms.

“To see our team in action and all our planning come together is exciting,” said Jason Rowntree, professor of the C.S. Mott Endowed Chair of Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State and project co-lead. “To actually be out there in the field and scaling up — it’s rewarding to know that what we’re doing could have global impact on ranchers.”

Field sampling is only the first part of the project, Noble said. The entire initiative will span six years.

“Farmers and ranchers will directly benefit from this project, and they will also be actively involved,” said Isabella C. F. Maciel, systems researcher at Noble and project co-lead. “Next year, we look forward to taking similar measurements at 60 producer-owned/managed sites located across Oklahoma, Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Michigan.”