News Releases

National Soil Conservation Week April 15-21 champions soil quality

Indian Head, Sask., April 10, 2007:

Canada's farmers have made dramatic progress in managing soils at the farm level. But with pressures for continually increasing production combined with the growing environmental expectations of society, continued progress has never been more important, says the executive director of Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC).

That's a key reason why SCCC is a charter supporter of National Soil Conservation Week, to be held April 15-21, says Doug McKell. "Soil is the most important resource involved in the production of food in Canada for today and tomorrow. It is also a key component of a productive ecosystem, contributing to water and air quality management."

Canada's producers have been major drivers of a new generation of soil management practices, says McKell. They have developed new technology and farm-based research and have broadly adopted practices which conserve the soil.

"More and more producers throughout Canada are adopting low disturbance and minimum or zero-till cropping practices," he says. "These practices are used extensively in Western Canada and, depending on the crop or region, anywhere from 10 to 75 percent of corn, soybean and grains are now being produced under direct or reduced tillage seeding systems."

Many have also tested and adopted crop management systems that protect the soil, capture nutrients and sequester carbon, says McKell. "For example, according to Statistics Canada, the number of acres under summerfallow in Western Canada has dropped from nearly 20 million acres in 1991 to about 10 million acres in the early part of this decade."

In order to acknowledge this progress, SCCC, in recognition of National Soil Conservation Week, is showcasing several innovators and leaders of soil conservation practices in Canada. Over the course of National Soil Conservation Week, several "soil champions" will be highlighted on the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) Web site at

"These people, just a few of many from across Canada, are prime examples of the commitment that has anchored the dramatic progress made in the field of soil conservation over the past few decades," says McKell.

"They showed leadership at a time when certain soil conservation practices were not as popular as they are today. This is our way of saluting those efforts and reminding producers and all of society that protecting our soil resource has never been more important."

These articles are part of a series of feature articles available on the SCCC Web site explaining the state of soil conservation in Canada today.

SCCC is the face and voice of soil conservation in Canada. A national, non-governmental, independent organization, it was formed in 1987 to provide a non-partisan public forum at the national level for soil conservation.

Using a grassroots approach combined with the scientific, technical and practical experience of its members, it works with government and private industry, individuals and non-government organizations to address soil degradation and facilitate exchange of information across Canada.

For further information, contact:

Doug McKell, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Indian Head, SK
Ph.: (306) 695-4212
Jean-Louis Daigle, Executive Director/Directeur général
Eastern Canada Soil and Water Conservation Centre/
Centre de conservation des sols et de l'eau de l'Est du Canada
Saint-André (Grand Falls), NB
Ph.: (506) 475-4040