News Releases

New world of farm soils celebrated in 2012 National Soil Conservation Week

Indian Head, Sask., April 10, 2012:

Canadian farmers are driving a new generation of developments in soil management that are changing the face of Canadian agriculture. Those developments will be in focus during National Soil Conservation Week, April 15 to 21, 2012.

"Farmers are very aware of sustainable soil management today," says Glen Shaw, executive director of the Soils Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). "Soil management techniques such as reduced tillage farming systems have revolutionized cropping systems. Rather than tilling fields, crops are planted through the soil-protecting residue cover of the previous crop. That residue cover prevents erosion and improves soil health."

Another growth area is precision agriculture where producers use new technology such as GPS units linked with new generation application capability to precisely apply exact amounts of agricultural inputs and manage their land in the most sustainable way.

"Soil conservation is so much more than erosion control today," says Shaw. "Food producers see their farms as part of broad food production systems directly linked with issues such as greenhouse gas emissions, carbon sequestration, water quality, air quality and biodiversity."

One sign of the global emergence of a new generation of farming is the Sixth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture which SCCC, in partnership with the Conservation Agriculture Systems Alliance (CASA), is bringing to Winnipeg in 2014, says Don McCabe, SCCC president.

"That conference will showcase Canadian farm developments such as no-till farming systems to the world," says McCabe. "The Beneficial Management Practices employed in conservation agriculture are the backbone of sustainability. The need in the future will be to ensure farmers get recognized by the marketplace for their efforts."

A new opportunity for farmers is the emerging bio-economy, he says. Ethanol and biodiesel production are well known, but the feedstock for the next wave of fuels, chemicals and composites will come from farmers' fields in the form of crop residues. This is a huge market opportunity but it must be done properly with soil conservation principles established to ensure long-term soil health.

"National Soil Conservation Week is an annual effort to put the spotlight on the continuing success in soil management and at the same time to keep soils in the eye of both farmers and the public," says McCabe. "There is continued work to be done to better understand soil quality and management systems and our goal is continual improvement."

SCCC is a charter supporter of National Soil Conservation Week, says Glen Shaw. The past several years the organization has acknowledged this by recognizing "soil champions," producers from across Canada who represent the successes of the soil conservation movement.

"We salute their efforts and as we do so, we remind farmers and ranchers and the general public of what well managed soil means to everyone," says Shaw. Articles on the 2012 soil champions and soil conservation in general, are available on the SCCC website

The face and voice of soil conservation in Canada, SCCC is a national, non-governmental, independent organization, formed in 1987 to provide a non-partisan public forum at the national level for soil conservation. Those interested in fighting soil degradation can become an individual or corporate member of SCCC. Simply visit the Web site and click on 'Join SCCC.'

For more information, contact:

Don McCabe, President
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (519) 331-6175
Glen Shaw, Executive Director
Soil Conservation Council of Canada
Ph: (306) 972-7293
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