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New Publication Connects Soil and Human Health

A recent publication by Brevik et. al. titled Soil and Human Health: Current Status and Future Needs looks at how soil health and human health are connected.

The publication, available through Air, Soil and Water Research, introduces the concept that soil health is a key social determinant of health and explores the current status of soil pollution, soil microorganisms, and soil macroorganisms to human health, as well as nutrient supply from the soil. The article also establishes the need for communication with the public on the connection between soil and human health.

The article cites the Soil Health Institute’s Conference on Connections Between Soil Health and Human Health, during which scientists and organization leaders developed 10 research recommendations to advance both science and policy communications between soil health and human health.

Spring Newsletter

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today released a new issue of Soil Health News, which:

  • Summarizes the Core Values of the Institute;
  • announces a new journal article, “Introducing the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements,” which describes the rationale, approach, and methods used in SHI’s continental-scale, collaborative soil health research project;
  • updates information on SHI’s two-pronged approach for assessing the business case that integrates economic results from long-term agricultural research sites with farmer interviews to provide greater insight into the returns of soil health management systems;
  • highlights cotton farmers’ experiences with soil health management systems in Arkansas; and
  • outlines improvements to SHI’s Soil Health Research Landscape Tool, the online library and search engine of soil health-related research papers, reports, and other publications, which now includes more than 13,000 references to help scientists, industry leaders, producers, policy makers and anyone interested in soil health locate pertinent research articles.

Read the newsletter here.

Farmers, Scientists, and Ag Industry to Advance the Science and Practicality of Soil Health

The Soil Health Institute (SHI), a non-profit organization charged with safeguarding and enhancing the vitality and productivity of soil, today released its 5th Annual Meeting Agenda. Registration is open for Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture, SHI’s first-ever virtual annual meeting. There is no registration fee; however, registration is required to attend. The online meeting will be held July 30 and 31, 2020.

The annual meeting will host 28 distinguished panelists and speakers, including farmers, soil scientists, food manufacturing leaders, and policy experts. The keynote will be provided by Jay Watson, Sourcing Sustainability Engagement Manager at General Mills, Inc., who leads General Mills, Inc.’s greenhouse gas reduction and regenerative agriculture commitments.

Among the meeting topics:

  • Comprehensive Strategy for Advancing Soil Health
  • Determining Effective Measurements of Soil Health
  • Dimensions of Adoption
  • Filling the Economics Gap for Farmers
  • Soil Health Policies and Programs in Action

In addition to the plenary sessions, a virtual Video Poster Session will feature up to 80 3-minute video research presentations.

“The level of enthusiasm we have received for Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture is very inspiring,” said Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, SHI president and CEO. “We are excited at the opportunity for reaching a broad, and hopefully global, audience with the latest information for advancing the science and practicality of soil health.”

For more information and to register for the annual meeting, please visit https://soilhealthinstitute.org/annual-meeting-2020/.

SHI Opens Call for Video Poster Submissions

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) has opened its call for submissions for the virtual Video Poster Session at their 5th Annual Meeting, July 30-31, 2020. Submissions must be received through the Video Poster Submission form, accompanied by a signed Video Poster Session Author Authorization and Release Agreement submitted by email, no later than 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time (PT), Tuesday June 23, 2020. Interested video poster authors must also register to attend the conference.

Due to the virtual nature of the meeting, SHI is seeking 3-minute video submissions in lieu of a poster. Video submissions must be self-contained, self-explanatory, scientifically rigorous, and relevant to soil health. To optimize attendee experience and interactivity with presenters, the video poster session is limited to 80 videos. Presenters will be notified by July 10, 2020, regarding acceptance.

Interested researchers are asked to read the Call for Video Posters in full for a listing of submission guidelines and presentation requirements.

For questions about the video poster session, video preparation or submission, contact us at info@soilhealthinstitute.org with the subject line “SHI2020 Video Poster Session”.

CDFA’S 2020 HEALTHY SOILS INCENTIVES PROGRAM

The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) has selected 316 Healthy Soils Program (HSP) Incentives Program projects for grant awards totaling approximately $22.06 million. The program encourages farmers and ranchers to implement on-farm practices that improve soil health, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and sequester carbon in soils.

The 2020 HSP Incentives Program funding cycle was the first time applications were accepted on a rolling basis, with a final deadline of June 26 or until funds were expended, whichever came first. CDFA closed the application period on May 15, 2020, having reached the award threshold six weeks prior to the final deadline. During the application period, 578 applications requesting $37.87 million had been received. The selected 2020 projects will build soil health on more than an estimated 30,700 acres of California agricultural lands and reduce GHGs by an estimated 73,800 tons per year.

Read the full article here: https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/egov/Press_Releases/Press_Release.asp?PRnum=20-065

ESMC Newsletter May, 2020

Executive Director Update on May 2020 ESMC/ESMRC Member Meeting

Thanks to all members who participated in our fourth ESMC/ESMRC Member Meeting on May 11–12, 2020. We had just under 90 participants each of the two days and appreciate the participation, discussions and input received. Our previous 3 member meetings, beginning with the first in August of 2019, were held in-person, and this was our first to be held in a virtual setting in a shift to accommodate the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. We began with an acknowledgment that the COVID response has created upheaval for us all, personally and professionally, as well as within the food and agricultural sector, and we recognize the need to remain sensitive and cognizant of the impacts and associated uncertainty to our individual and collective efforts moving forward. But we did agree that our goals and outcomes remain critical.

Our meetings allow us to update members on progress across a range of ESMC and ESMRC program areas. According to member meeting evaluations, the meeting highlights were the two panel discussions covering pilot projects and the activities of technical working groups. Organized and moderated by Program Director Caroline Wade, these discussions provided insight into the ESMRC investments being made to build ESMC’s market, as well as to show how pilot project work will test and refine those investments and continue to refine the ESMC market program. Thanks to the many members and technical working group members who participated in the two panels.

An additional highlight was rollout of our new strategic marketing plan by the Trust in Food and Farm Journal Team, including Nate Birt, Stephanie Gable and Kristi Moss, in a session covering ESMC’s communications update and moderated by Bruce Knight of Strategic Conservation Solutions. We continued discussions with members of our asset and credit pricing structure assessment and planning as well, which we will test as part of our pilot projects.

Finally, we were pleased to announce the addition of four new ESMC team members: Deke Alkire, Program Development Manager working on technical assistance and verification manuals and certification program development; Cassie Kniebel Aherin, Project Manager and lead for pilot project development and coordination as well as Producer Circle development; Benjamin Bartley, Project Manager and lead for protocol adaptation and refinement and certification; and Paul Meints, Research Director supporting ESMRC technical working groups and R&D oversight. (See below for more on our new team members.)

As we enter our second year of our Public-Private Partnership with our members, partners, stakeholders and funders, we also publicly thanked our funders for their ongoing support, including recent awards by the Walton Family Foundation and General Mills, Inc. to fund critical ESMC operational needs.

Regards, and thanks again to our members and collaborators for your continued support and participation.
– Debbie Reed and the ESMC Team

Read the full newsletter here.

Registration for SHI’s 5th Annual Meeting Now Open

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) opened registration today for its 5th Annual Meeting, “Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture.” The event will be July 30-31, 2020 and will be virtual this year. There is no cost to attend the event, but registration is required.

Soil Health: The Foundation for Regenerative Agriculture is a free, 2-day virtual event. Join to advance the opportunity that improving soil health offers to address climate change, water quality, food production, biodiversity, and many other pressing issues.

The event will include Plenary Sessions from 12:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time), as well as a Video Poster Session from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 (Noon) p.m. (Eastern Time) on both days. More details on the full agenda and the Video Poster Session will be available in the coming weeks.

Register for the event through the registration form, available here. More information is available on the conference webpage, or contact SHI at info@soilhealthinstitute.org.

If you are interested in becoming an event sponsor, please contact Sheldon Jones.

SHI Publishes Strategy for Evaluating Soil Health Measurements

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) announces the first publication on the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements (NAPESHM) is now available, open source, in Agronomy Journal.

“Introducing the North American Project to Evaluate Soil Health Measurements” describes the rationale, approach, and methods used in this continental-scale, collaborative soil health research project conducted by SHI. The paper documents the core strategic design, soil health measurements being evaluated, methods used, and sites participating in the US, Canada, and Mexico.

The overall goal of the project is to identify the most effective measures of soil health across a wide range of climates, production systems, management practices, and inherent soil properties. The paper also provides other researchers and stakeholders a clear roadmap for obtaining results relevant to the database being developed and offers a reference for protocols used by SHI.

The paper was co-authored by Charlotte E. Norris, G. Mac Bean, Shannon B. Cappellazzi, Michael Cope, Kelsey L.H. Greub, Daniel Liptzin, Elizabeth L. Rieke, Paul W. Tracy, Cristine L.S. Morgan, and C. Wayne Honeycutt.

SHI would like to thank the NAPESHM Scientists for spearheading the effort, as well as more than 80 Partnering Scientists from across academia, federal agencies, and the private sector who are making this project possible. SHI also thanks the project’s funders: The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, and General Mills, for their generosity.

Future papers will describe the results of SHI’s evaluation of approximately 30 soil health indicators across North America.

Access the publication now through the Agronomy Journal.

FoodShot Global Launches New FoodShots

This is a time of unprecedented stress on our food system. More than ever, it is clear that we must redesign our food system to support a healthy global population in greater harmony with nature. That’s why we’re thrilled to announce that our partners at FoodShot Global, a collaborative investment platform catalyzing groundbreaking innovation in the food and agriculture space, today announced the launch of their new FoodShots: Precision Protein and Innovating Soil 3.0, Deep Dive. Up to $10 million in equity is available for innovative businesses, and the $500,000+ GroundBreaker Prize will be awarded to researchers, early stage entrepreneurs and advocates who are creating FoodShot solutions.

FoodShot Global announced that the focus of its second FoodShot will be Precision Protein, which seeks to develop proteins systematically and with heightened rigor in order to build a protein system that is more precisely attuned to human and planetary health, better aligns global and regional supply and demand, increases accessibility, and decreases waste and environmental damage. FoodShot Global also announced that it would build on its successful inaugural FoodShot, Innovating Soil 3.0, by launching a “deep dive” to fill key gaps and support best-of-class innovations that have the maximum potential for scale and global impact. Innovating Soil 3.0, Deep Dive, specifically seeks breakthrough advances and technologies related to soil carbon measurement, microbiome functionality, and rapid adoption of regenerative practices.

First-round applications and nominations for both the protein and soil FoodShots are due July 15, 2020.

As a partner of this unique non-profit organization, we are committed to making the food system healthier, more sustainable and more equitable. Apply today and feel free to pass the information along! For more information, go to www.foodshot.org.

Soil Health Institute Announces Virtual Annual Meeting

The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today announced its 5th Annual Meeting will go virtual.

“Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will hold an online annual meeting this year,” Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, SHI President and CEO, said.

“The good news is there will be no registration fee; however, we will still need people to register so they can access the event and we can provide meeting information via email,” Dr. Honeycutt said. “The poster session, which has become an integral part of our meeting, will be incorporated into the virtual event through video presentations. We are also working to provide Continuing Education Unit (CEU) credits for participating certified crop advisors.”

As previously announced, the annual meeting will be July 30-31, 2020. An agenda and more information on how to register will be available in early May.

For more information, please visit the website or contact info@soilhealthinstitute.org.