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United Nations declares 2015 as International Year of Soils

USDA celebrated kickoff with Soil Science Society of America

By Diego Flammini,

As part of the celebrations surrounding the International Year of Soils, each month will have a theme involving soil and other parts of everyday life. The Soil Science Society of America will publish a monthly video highlighting some of soil’s unspoken value including its role in food security and ecosystem functions.

January’s theme is Soils Sustain Life.

January’s video discusses how soil is formed and what it provides to the earth. Jim Toomey, who narrates the video, describes soil as “one of the four things that we can’t live without,” including water, sunlight, and air.

The video also talks of things such as soil’s Ecosystem Services; promoting how soil is where food is grown, it filters water, and even how materials used to build houses come from soil.

The International Year of Soils is an initiative by the Global Soil Partnership. The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and United States Department of Agriculture are both participating in the celebrations.

"Most people don't realize that just beneath our feet lies a diverse, complex, life-giving ecosystem that sustains our entire existence," said Jason Weller, chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). "We are helping producers unlock the power of soil health as part of an important and very successful national campaign. Our campaign demonstrates our renewed commitment to soil conservation and soil health."

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