20 Universities Demonstrate Success as Coalition Presses for More Federal Investment in Agricultural Research-
“WASHINGTON, DC (March 27, 2019)—A new report issued today showed how U.S. farmers—facing a surge of weather events and disease outbreaks—can increase production and revenues with innovations produced by federally funded agricultural research.
“The U.S. needs to increase its investment in agricultural research or it risks falling further behind China, according to a new report issued by the Supporters of Agricultural Research (SoAR) Foundation and 20 FedByScience research institutions.
“The new report, Retaking the Field: Science Breakthroughs for Thriving Farms and a Healthier Nation, highlights research projects in the five Science Breakthroughs areas identified as the most important fields to advance in agriculture by the year 2030: genomics, microbiomes, sensors, data and informatics, and transdisciplinary research. These areas were determined by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) as part of a widespread scientific effort to prioritize agricultural research endeavors.”
“The Soil Health Institute (SHI), the nonprofit organization charged with safeguarding and enhancing soil health, has announced it will launch “Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton,” a continuous engagement project to help U.S. cotton farmers increase soil health on their farms. In addition, the project will seek to quantify and expand the productivity, economic, and environmental benefits of soil health systems for those farmers. The initial pilot program, which will be conducted during 2019, will include cotton producers in Arkansas, Georgia, and North Carolina, according to Cristine Morgan, Ph.D., SHI Chief Scientific Officer.
“This farmer-focused education and training program will be developed and delivered by a qualified team comprised of technical specialists and successful cotton farmers,” Morgan said. “In 2020, the program will expand to Mississippi, Texas, and California.””
CASI hosts Dr. Shannon Cappellazzi of the Soil Health Institute for two days of sampling at the NRI Project field in Five Points, CA!
Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
“The UC ANR CASI (Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation) Center hosted Dr. Shannon Cappellazzi, lead scientist for the Western US for two days of soil sampling at the long-term NRI Project in Five Points, CA March 18th and 19th. This well-known ANR study was started in 1999 and has been a unique research resource in the State because of its dedication to investigating reduced disturbance and biodiversity in food production systems. Since being established, it has maintained four experimental systems – standard tillage without a cover crop, standard tillage with a cover crop, no-tillage without a cover crop, and no-tillage with cover crop – and it has afforded comparisons of a long list of soil, crop, environmental, and economic outcomes that have resulted from each of these systems being implemented over such a long time frame. Earlier this year, the site was selected as one of the roughly 125 similar long-term studies in North America that the Soil Health Institute of Morrisville, NC is conducting in 2019. The goals of the monitoring program that is being done at each of these sites is to characterize and better understand how consistent, long-term management impacts a range of soil properties and functions and to also gain better understanding of which indicators of soil health might be best able to detect changes in performance and function across this broad array of environments.”
The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released the Conference on Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health report, which includes recommendations for better understanding soil health – human health relationships. The conference was designed to bring the soil health and human health communities together, establish the current state of collective knowledge, identify gaps and associated priorities, and scope a collaborative path forward. Held October 16 – 17, 2018, in Silver Spring, MD, the conference included more than 180 attendees from more than 120 organizations.
“We often consider how soil health supports human health in the context of feeding a growing world population. This is certainly a very noble goal by itself, but the potential does not end there,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of SHI. “Healthy soils filter and break down contaminants, reduce nutrient losses to our waterways, and help us both mitigate and adapt to a changing climate. Interestingly, however, we learned that the medical community largely thinks of soil decontamination rather than soil as a source of nutrients. We learned that the medical profession is so concerned about climate change that medical societies representing over half of the doctors in the U.S. have created a consortium to inform the public and policymakers about the harmful health effects of climate change. These are issues we can address by improving soil health!
This year’s theme is Soil Health – A Global Imperative, reflecting just how critically imminent it is that we safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soils to address food, water, climate, wildlife, fiber, fuel, and other global issues.
Registration is $300 with a special price of $100 for Farmers and Students.