AGU19 Accepting Abstracts This Week

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) is accepting abstracts for a session entitled, Advances in Soil Health: Characterizing the Biogeophysical Components of Sustained Productivity in Managed Soils, for its Fall Meeting 2019.

B005 – Advances in Soil Health: Characterizing the Biogeophysical Components of Sustained Productivity in Managed Soils

Soil management practices that enhance organic matter content, minimize disturbance, and promote soil biology are increasingly viewed as critical strategies to both sequester carbon and improve soil productivity. This session will explore how soils change mechanistically under conservation practices, the implications of those changes for the productivity of working lands, and impacts on elemental budgets at farm- to global-spatial scales.

The session welcomes contributions that advance the scientific underpinnings of the soil health concept. Topics may include: links between soil physical and microbial community development, pore versus aggregate perspectives on soil structural development, soil impacts of pesticides and other inputs, and greenhouse gas implications of improved soil health. Contributions across the physical, biological, and geochemical disciplines of soil health are welcome.

For information on writing the abstract, link here.  https://eos.org/agu-news/a-guide-to-writing-an-agu-abstract

To submit an abstract, link here.  https://www2.agu.org/en/Fall-Meeting/Pages/Submit-an-abstract

Soil Health Institute Releases Strategy on Soil Health Adoption

“The Soil Health Institute has released a strategy to help farmers when deciding whether to adopt soil health practices.

“Wayne Honeycutt, president and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, says adopting soil health practices can improve a farmer’s bottom line while also reducing nutrient loss to waterways and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

““It’s one of those rare win-win situations and it really puts farmers in the driver’s seat for addressing so many of our most pressing natural resource issues,” he says.

“He tells Brownfield the strategy involves assessing economic risk of adopting practices and training producers on how to implement them.

““That takes us down the road of conducting research on assessing profitability of these soil health systems,” he says. “Another aspect that we recognize farmers need is to know how to be able to measure the health of their soils and monitor its progress.””

Read the full story here: https://brownfieldagnews.com/news/soil-health-institute-releases-strategy-on-soil-health-adoption/

Soil Health Institute Releases Comprehensive Strategy

“The Soil Health Institute today released its comprehensive strategy for enhancing soil health at the 4th Annual Meeting of the Soil Health Institute in Sacramento, Calif.

“An abundance of research shows that practices designed to improve soil health also reduce nutrient loss to waterways, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, increase biodiversity, and provide many other benefits.

“”To achieve such goals at scale, we must provide our land managers, primarily farmers and ranchers, with the information they need when deciding whether to adopt soil health-promoting practices,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “That means a key component of our strategy is to assess the impacts of soil health adoption on profitability and economic risk. Another is to identify the most effective measurements for soil health because farmers cannot be expected to manage what they cannot measure. We then need to provide workshops on locally-relevant management practices proven by other farmers to work for them,” Honeycutt says. In addition, Honeycutt described how information must be supported by a strong research and development program that producers, policy analysts, and society can trust.”

Read the full story here: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/soil-health-institute-releases-comprehensive-strategy-for-soil-health-300884524.html

Remote Sensing Technology Drives Conservation Solutions

Today marks the first release of regional-scale data from the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), a new tool that has the potential to unlock conservation solutions for a variety of food and agricultural supply chain stakeholders. These data document the level of adoption of soil health practices for Illinois, Indiana  and Iowa from 2005 to 2018. By the end of July, the same data will be available for the entire Corn Belt—an area extending from eastern Ohio to eastern Kansas and Nebraska, and from the Missouri Bootheel to the Red River Valley of North Dakota.

OpTIS, developed by Applied GeoSolutions (AGS), analyzes remotely sensed images of the landscape, automatically identifying and quantifying the proportion of cropland that is managed with various types of conservation tillage practices and winter cover crops each year. AGS, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have spearheaded the development, testing and application of OpTIS.

“In the past, we have relied on data from cost share programs to measure conservation practice adoption, but we know most farmers implement conservation practices on their own,” said Ben Gleason, sustainable program manager, Iowa Corn Growers Association. “Utilizing remote sensing technology that is ground-truthed allows us to see the entire picture of conservation practice adoption, and the results show that we are making progress.”

Read the Full Story Here: https://www.nature.org/en-us/explore/newsroom/remote-sensing-technology-drives-conservation-solutions/

Soil Wealth: Investing in Regenerative Agriculture Across Asset Classes

“Soil Wealth” is what we call the constellation of benefits associated with building both soil health and community wealth through regenerative agriculture.

As the investment community in the United States, particularly within the fields of sustainable, responsible, and impact (SRI) investing, shows an increasing appetite for investing in sustainable agriculture and food systems across asset classes, a subset of investors is demonstrating growing interest in financing not simply “sustainable” agriculture but agriculture that is deemed explicitly “regenerative.”

What “regenerative” means for farmers and investors remains highly in flux, but broadly it refers to holistic approaches to agricultural systems that work with natural systems to restore, improve, and enhance the biological vitality, carrying capacity, and “ecosystem services” of farming landscapes. Regenerative farming operations also aim to support the resilience of the rural communities and broader value chains in which they are situated.

Read the full story here: http://www.croataninstitute.org/soilwealth

Soil Health Institute releases progress report on adoption of soil health practices


The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has released PROGRESS REPORT: Adoption of Soil Health Systems Based on Data from the 2017 U.S. Census of Agriculture. The analysis includes a state-by-state breakdown of both cover crops and no-till production.

The 2017 Census of Agriculture was released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on April 11, 2019. The Census represents the most thorough overall assessment of a number of agricultural metrics that is conducted in the United States. Due to the time and expense involved with the Census, it is conducted only once every five years. Periodically, new questions are added, such as a question on cover crop acres that appeared for the first time in 2012 and was repeated in 2017.

In relation to soil health-promoting practices, the main data that the Census provides is on use of cover crops and tillage. Census respondents were asked how many acres of cover crops they planted in 2017 (and 2012), and from that response, the number of farm operations with cover crops was also determined. For tillage, respondents were asked how many acres they had of no-till, conservation tillage, or conventional tillage. Overall, the 2017 Census of Agriculture showed considerable progress with soil health practices from 2012 to 2017, with 5 million additional acres of cover crops and 8 million additional acres of no-till in the U.S.

This report provides several tables and maps that were generated by extracting data from the online Census of Agriculture data sets and then analyzing or ranking the data to provide insights into progress with soil health practices, specifically cover crops and no-till.

The report was developed by Rob Myers, Ph.D., a University of Missouri agronomist and Co-chair of the Soil Health Institute Policy Action Team, and Joe LaRose, a University of Missouri extension associate.

For further information, click here.