A 2020 USDA NRCS report showed a 35% decrease in 2017 overall soil loss within the last four decades, attributing reductions to conservation efforts and adopting more sustainable farming practices.

How valuable is conservation tillage? Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer, partially due to the complexity of the calculation.

For the sake of discussion, the study’s authors calculated a national average cost of soil erosion of $113.92 per acre adjusted for inflation at the U.S. average of 4.63 tons of soil eroded per acre per year. Seventy-five percent of this cost, or $85.44 per acre, was estimated to be borne by the farmer directly.

If conservation tillage reduces soil erosion by 83% on average, it could save the farmer $70.92 per acre. No-till can reduce soil erosion by 93% on average, which could save the farmer $79.46 per acre. These estimates are only a starting point.

Read more about the tillage study here.