Love Food? Then you’ve gotta love soil – World Soil Day 2017

NACC’s Sustainable Agriculture team took some time to celebrate the dirt under our feet this week when World Soil Day was recognised on 5 December.
NACC’s Sarah Jeffery and Sally Fenner with Tina Schroeder and the World Soil Day cake

The team travelled to Perth where the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), together with SoilsWest and Soil Science Australia, hosted a World Soil Day event at which the discussion focussed on Western Australian development and innovation in the context of soils conservation and resource use.

Beyond a fantastic soil-themed cake that, for many, was one highlight of the day, the event was considered a great opportunity for the NACC team to learn about the integral role that soils play in our environment, health and food production through a range of speakers and poster displays from current and future soil scientists.

The University of Western Australia’s Matthias Leopold said during his presentation that he sees “soils as an integral component of the environment”. With limited percentages of soil around the world suitable for cropping and only 6 per cent in Australia, he went on to discuss how valuable a resource soil is across the world, and the lessons that we can learn from our natural systems.

The Honourable Alannah MacTiernan opened the event with the announcement of the revitalisation of the Soil and Land Conservation Council, which she believes will “be at the heart of agriculture”. This was then followed by the announcement of other resources and programs which will strengthen knowledge about soils and the availability of that knowledge to the community.

The launch of the cutting-edge Soil Quality ebook was a highlight of the day, with SoilsWest Director Fran Hoyle demonstrating the range of interactive features of the new digital book series. The first of the series, Soil Quality: Constraints to Plant Production, is now available on the iBooks Store, making up-to-date soils information more accessible for everyone.

Keynote speaker Professor Petra Tschakert finished the presentations by sharing her international soils experience, highlighting the big impact that soils can have not only on agriculture and the environment, but on people’s health and wellbeing. She emphasised the importance of understanding the impacts of changing landscapes on people and people’s lives with the strong message that “soil and soil management is not just about soil science, it is political.”

Even though World Soil Day is done and dusted for another year, soil continues to be an integral part of our lives. If you are interested in talking soil, then perhaps consider coming along to one of the Talkin’ Soil Health conferences that will be held in Dalwallinu and Katanning in March 2018 being delivered by NRMWA. Check out:  https://www.soilhealth.com.au/

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