The Soil Health Institute has announced initial methods for creating standard measurements of soil health.
Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Steven Shafer tells Brownfield there is currently no universal way to measure soil health. “We hope to eventually be in a position to be able to undertake what we would call a national soil health assessment and really look at what’s happening in terms of status and trends in soil health across the United States.”
He says the Institute has defined tier one and tier two indicators of soil health, and a round table of experts have come to a consensus on how to measure them. Shafer says the next step is putting the methods into practice. “We will test these indicators and methods on sites where there has been long-term agricultural experimentation, so we know the history of the specific land management practices and test them, so we can see which ones really tells us something.”
The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research and partnering organizations have invested nearly $20 million in the project to help the industry adopt standard soil health measurements and enhance economic and environmental benefits for farmers.
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