On Dec. 5, World Soil Day, two charitable foundations launched a $20 million new “Soil Health Institute” dedicated to”
“serve as the primary resource for soil health information, working to set soil-health standards and measurement, build knowledge about the economics of soil health, offer educational programs, and coordinate research in all aspects of soil and soil health.”
The foundations are the Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation.
Farmers will make up the majority of the board of directors — not academics or corporate agribusiness reps.
One of the most complete reports on this innovation is written by John Dobberstein in No-Till Farmer, at this link.
Ag Professional also reports on the announcement at this link.
Why does the United States need a new “Institute” devoted to soil health, when we have the outstanding National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (formerly the National Soil Tilth Laboratory)? Its leadership, headed by the esteemed Jerry Hatfield, is known worldwide for their accomplishments.
Note that the Soil Health Institute is geared to analyzing information, not conducting field experiments. And, it’s outside the constraints of federal funding. It includes the term “organic” as one of its roles.
Thus, the Soil Health Institute promises to literally break new ground in soil sciences, moving beyond the NPK prescription model and looking toward the biological side of soils.