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International Year of Soils: August 2015

Soils support health

By Diego Flammini,

As declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2015 is being recognized as the International Year of Soils.

Soils, for the most part, get taken for granted. It gets walked on, played on and tossed around at construction sites. The UN, along with organizations including World Rural Forum, International Union of Soil Sciences and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) are doing their part to make people aware of soil’s importance in everyday life.

To promote the role of soil, the SSSA produces a short monthly video, each with a different theme.

The theme for August is “soils support health”.

As land continues to be developed, farmers need healthy soil more than ever.

“We’re growing more food on less land than we were decades ago,” said SSSA’s Jim Toomey in the August video. “That means we expect more of the soil we have left for producing food. Our growers have to make sure that the soil has the right amount of nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients.”

The nutrients people get from the food they eat, also come from the soil.

“Food that’s grown in fertile soil full of good elements and minerals packs more nutrition than food grown in weaker soil,” said Toomey. “There are bacteria in the soil that take nitrogen from our air, process it and make it available to plants for food. This is called nitrogen fixation.”

Be sure to go back and check out the other themes for the International Year of Soils:

January – Soils Sustain Life
February – Soils Support Urban Life
March – Soils Support Agriculture
April – Soils Clean and Capture Water
May – Soils Support Buildings and Infrastructure
June – Soils Support Recreation
July – Soils are Living

Check back in September when the theme is “soils protect the natural environment”.

Tell us your thoughts about the International Year of Soils. What are some things you’ve found interesting about soil?

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