Fall Newsletter 2020

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has released its Fall Soil Health News, showcasing forward momentum on soil health adoption and research. The issue shares highlights from SHI’s 5th Annual Meeting with links to the conference sessions, conference report and video poster sessions.

The newsletter’s articles include:

  • How Soil Health Can Achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions for U.S. Agriculture
  • “Assessing Soil Health” Webinar Series Delivers Information on Measuring and Assessing Soil Health
  • SHI Awarded $3.25 Million from ARPA-E to Develop Soil Carbon Measurement and Monitoring System
  • The Business Case for Adopting Soil Health Management Systems – A Project Update
  • NAPESHM UPDATE: Progress on Identifying Most Effective Measurements
  • Virtual Field Days Focus on Soil Health Promoting Practices in Cotton
  • Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Named Field to Market Spotlight Honoree
  • Cotton & Covers: Farmers Share Their Soil Health Journey
  • Cristine Morgan, SHI Chief Scientific Officer, Named Soil Science of America Fellow

SHI also announces its new Scientific Advisory Committee.

Read the newsletter here.

ESMC November Newsletter

Executive Director Update

The sheer volume of recent activity that impacts ESMC’s work and that of our members and stakeholders seems to increase every month. Political change aside (for the moment), we’ve seen more and more companies and sectors in and outside the food and beverage sector taking on new goals and commitments to become more sustainable, including pledges to be net zero emitters of carbon and GHG by certain dates. Goal setting and reporting commitments are fantastic to see; they signal that the private sector is continuing to step up to address not just climate change, but associated natural resource and ecological impacts, including water resource constraints, biodiversity impacts, and related concerns that are critical to human and planetary health and food security. Concerns that the global COVID pandemic might reduce commitments or reduce resolve are calmed by the doubling-down of corporate actors that are evident in headlines everywhere, every day.

Valid concerns that society and consumers need to have transparency and clarity into the true impacts of these commitments and endeavors are also increasing. ESMC’s industry-wide approach ensures that sustainability and climate change mitigation activities in the agricultural sector are appropriately and rigorously quantified, verified, and certified by independent authorities. ESMC’s mission of scaling beneficial impacts that benefit society is centered in a voluntary, private market that meets multiple demand-side and buyer needs, while paying the farmers and ranchers whose actions create the impacts. Our program ensures that corporate actors in the agricultural supply chain and value chain need not make these investments individually; and that farmers and ranchers have the necessary tools and opportunities to participate without unduly burdening them. To de-risk these markets, we are ensuring that all market actors have the necessary tools to participate and are testing the entire program with all of them.

ESMC’s programmatic investments in technologically advanced protocols, tools, technologies and a monitoring, reporting, and verification platform have and will continue to establish a credible, durable system that meets market standards, buyer and investor needs, and can track and reward the impacts appropriately. The importance of having a robust and national scale infrastructure that ensures transparent, rigorous outcomes-based, certified tracking of impacts from agriculture cannot be overstated. We need change now, but the changes and the tracking must be durable, and the system must adapt to changing science, technology, and market standards. That flexibility of design is an underpinning of our approach. Where we will be in 5 years is not where we are now.

Recent political changes promise to bring additional opportunities to this space, and ESMC looks forward to engaging as these changes are further discussed and shaped. Additional support to the significant investments the private sector has made in this space, as well as to the public and private investments that ESMC and our members have collectively made is always welcomed, particularly in a manner that does not undermine or erode private voluntary markets which have the potential to scale ecological outcomes alongside traditional conservation programs. Both are necessary, and both must continue to scale impact and outcomes with necessary speed.

Thanks again to our members, stakeholders, collaborators, funders, and supporters for all the work that you do. We are honored to work with you, alongside you, and for you in what continues to be an inspiring and rewarding journey.

Read the full release here: https://mailchi.mp/a54709bc29a5/friends-of-ecosystem-services-market-consortium-newsletter-12599183?e=8253e16ce1

Living Soil Surpasses 1 MILLION Views

Today, we celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of Living Soil, which has become the nation’s premier soil health documentary. Living Soil has now passed 1 MILLION views!

Living Soil in the Classroom

We invite you to share Living Soil with your local schools. The primary learning goal is to help students develop an understanding of why soil health is important and identify ways that professionals in production agriculture work to improve the health of our nation’s soils, ultimately benefiting all members of society.

Free lesson plans are included for high school and college faculty use. These lesson plans are designed to accompany the Living Soil film and are appropriate to classes in agriculture, natural resources, environment, ecology, biology or human nutrition and food systems.

Lesson Plans

“Educating consumers about the on-farm and environmental benefits of healthy soils can help create more demand for food, fiber, and fuel grown using soil health systems. The Living Soil documentary was created and produced with that goal in mind, so we can achieve the many environmental benefits of healthy soils at a much grander scale,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute. “We thank everyone who has viewed and especially shared the documentary. My only ask is this: Please keep it up!”

The 60-minute film captures the history – and significance – of the soil health movement, beginning with painful images of the Dust Bowl, and then transitioning to personal experiences of innovative women and men who are managing their land to enhance soil health. Living Soil features rural and urban farmers from Maryland to California, producing everything from corn to floral bouquets, united by their care for the soil.

The documentary was directed by Ms. Chelsea Myers of Tiny Attic Productions and produced by the Soil Health Institute through the generous support of The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation. It is available free of charge and is currently being translated into multiple languages.
Watch the film here: https://livingsoilfilm.com/

Dr. Cristine Morgan Named SSSA Fellow

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today announced that the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) will recognize Dr. Cristine Morgan, Chief Scientific Officer of the Soil Health Institute, as a 2020 SSSA Fellow. The annual award is presented for outstanding contributions to soil science through education, national and international service, and research.

Dr. Morgan develops scientific strategy and implementation for SHI’s research. She holds a B.S. from Texas A&M University in Environmental Soil and Plant Sciences and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read the full story here: https://www.3blmedia.com/News/Dr-Cristine-Morgan-Soil-Health-Institute-Chief-Scientific-Officer-Named-Soil-Science-Society

SHI Scientists Present at ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting

SHI scientists will present at the 2020 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting “Translating Visionary Science to Practice” on November 9-13, 2020. The event is virtual, and presentations are available for on-demand viewing throughout the meeting beginning at 9:00am Central on November 9. On-demand presentations will continue to be accessible via the meeting platform for three months.

To register for the event and access SHI talks, visit https://www.acsmeetings.org/register.

We encourage ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting attendees to view these presentations, as well as those in the Measuring and Assessing Soil Health oral session, by searching the title or presenter name in the meeting platform starting on November 9th.


Presentations by SHI Scientists

A Comprehensive Strategy to Advance Adoption of Soil Health Systems
Presented by C. Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., President and CEO

The North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements: Overview and Direction
Presented by Cristine Morgan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

A Comprehensive Approach to Securing Soil, Agriculture, and the Environment
Presented by Cristine Morgan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Measuring and Assessing Soil Health
Presented by Cristine Morgan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer

Economic Assessment of Adoption of Soil Health Management Systems
Presented by John Shanahan, Ph.D., Project Manager – Agronomy

Management-Sensitive Pedotransfer Functions for Plant-Available Water Holding Capacity
Presented by Dianna Bagnall, Ph.D., Research Soil Scientist

Comparing the usefulness of nitrogen measurements used in soil health assessments
Presented by Shannon Cappellazzi, Ph.D., Lead Project Scientist

Towards Quantitative Ratings That Reflect Soil Health Principles: Soil Tillage Intensity
Presented by Michael Cope, Ph.D., Statistician and Database Manager

Soil Hydraulic Properties: Measurement Response to Soil Health Management
Presented by G. Mac Bean, Ph.D., Project Scientist

Assessing the sensitivity and utility of aggregate stability methods for soil health evaluation
Presented by Kelsey L.H. Greub, Ph.D., Project Scientist

Carbon Indicators of Soil Health: Relationships Among Indicators and the Role of Management and Intrinsic Factors
Presented by Daniel Liptzin, Ph.D., Project Scientist

Assessment of targeted amplicon sequencing as an indicator of soil health
Presented by Elizabeth Rieke, Ph.D., Project Scientist

Comparing Soil Carbon Measurements from Long-Term Agricultural Experiments across the United States with Comet-Farm Estimations
Presented by Paul Tracy, Ph.D, Project Agronomist

Soil Health and Its Relationship to the 4R’s of Nutrient Management
Presented by Paul Tracy, Ph.D, Project Agronomist