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Groups form partnership to promote soil health

Groups form partnership to promote soil health
Ag scientists study ways to develop best practices for the health of the soil.

The biggest agronomic, crop science and soil science group in the country gathered in November to demonstrate its growing emphasis on the importance of soil health. The Soil Health Partnership, an initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, was invited to give five presentations during the event.

Known as the “tri-societies,” the American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America and Soil Science Society of America hosted more than 4,000 scientists, professionals, educators and students at the 2016 International Annual Meeting, Nov. 6-9, in Phoenix.

FOR THE SOIL: The Soil Health Partnership was created to bring together scientists, professionals, educators and students to study ways to make soil health a focus.

“Our level of participation with this critical group of scientists was unprecedented this year, and demonstrates the scientific community is paying close attention to the agricultural and environmental strides we can make through better soil health,” says Nicholas Goeser, SHP director and NCGA director of soil health and sustainability. “It’s important to our mission to engage with this group of scientists.”

The SHP brings environmental, academic, agricultural and governmental partners together in a united mission to identify, test and measure farm management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers. Those practices include conservation tillage, advanced nutrient management and growing cover crops.

Also in November, SHP takes part in the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research event for soil research. SHP staff will help guide the FFAR scientific program in the “Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms Challenge Area.” It’s aimed at increasing soil health by building knowledge, fueling innovation and enabling adoption of existing or new innovative soil health-promoting practices.

The FFAR sessions took place Nov. 9-10 in Phoenix, following the tri-societies event.

“Having a seat at the table at both of these events is an opportunity to create awareness on smart soil practices and research needs,” Goeser says. “Science and data are powerful drivers of change.”

The Soil Health Partnership brings together diverse partner organizations, including commodity groups, federal agencies, universities and environmental groups to work toward the common goal of improving soil health. Over a period of at least 10 years, the SHP will identify, test and measure farm management practices that improve soil health and benefit farmers. SHP believes the results of this farmer-led project will provide a platform for sharing peer-to-peer information, and lend resources to benefit agricultural sustainability and profitability. An initiative of the National Corn Growers Association, it provides the spark for greater understanding and implementation of agricultural best practices to protect resources for future generations.

For more, visit soilhealthpartnership.org.

Source: Crop Science Society of America

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