Dr. Wayne Honeycutt, President and CEO of the Soil Health Institute, discussed a comprehensive strategy for advancing soil health, a strategy that the Soil Health Institute employs to increase adoption of soil health systems in order to achieve on-farm and environmental benefits at scale.
By 2050, our agricultural systems will need to support another 2 billion people. Yet, in the last century, many agricultural soils have lost 40%-60% of the basic building block that makes them productive (organic matter). The societal and environmental costs of soil loss and degradation in the United States alone are estimated to be as high as $85 billion every single year. Greenhouse gas emissions have reached the highest level ever recorded and are continuing to increase. Drought is expected to increase from impacting 1% of the world’s arable land to over 30% by the end of the century due to climate change. Approximately 80% of our nation’s rivers and streams are currently impaired due to nutrient runoff and other contaminants.
We are at a critical juncture in human history where we must address these challenges by transforming agriculture, and soil health is the framework to do just that, Dr. Honeycutt said.
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 drought resilience, enhance yield stability, increase biodiversity, enhance pollinator/wildlife habitat, and provide many other benefits. In short, soil health is the foundation for regenerative and sustainable agriculture. However, achieving these benefits at scale requires providing the information our land managers need when deciding whether to adopt new management practices/systems.
For more information see our video below: