Moncton, New Brunswick
November 17, 2016
Atlantic Soils 2016 was a partnership effort among a group of farm based organizations and the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC) to increase the awareness of the need for action on soil health and to talk about what can be done to secure the productive capacity of our soil resource. Partners in Atlantic Soils 2016 included Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick, New Brunswick Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, Soil and Crop Improvement Association of Nova Scotia, PEI Federation of Agriculture, PEI Soil and Crop Improvement Association, Perennia, Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture, PEI Agriculture & Fisheries and the Province of New Brunswick.
This unique one day event was attended by over 130 participants that included producers, professionals, agri, business, academia and government. Participants in the one day event heard expert speakers on the physical, biological and chemical aspects of soil health, shared their experience as producers, professionals and researchers and took part in numerous open discussions on soil health issues. French and English versions of the agenda are attached in Annex 1.
Through working together, the partners in this successful event have taken a step to enhancing collaboration across Atlantic Canada in ensuring the sustainability of our soil resources. All regions of Canada have distinct circumstances and unique challenges to soil sustainability, but there are areas where solutions can be found collaboratively. collaboration can collaboratively. As an example, discussions at Atlantic Soils 2016 on the importance of soil biology to soil health highlighted an area where common science, technology and best management practices can be developed in common and shared broadly in this region as well as other parts of Canada.
Based on evaluations of Atlantic Soils 2016, participants clearly took home significant information on how to use farming systems that are positive to soil health. For example, producers where encouraged to make inspections of their fields for indicators of soil health, in much the same way they scout fields for weed, pests and disease. However, in this case they may be looking for earthworm populations which are positively correlated to soil health.
Atlantic Soils 2016 partners will meet in the near future to review this successful event and look for ways to build on our experience this year. Soil conservation and health is an ongoing and evolving challenge driven by many factors including climate change, swings in the agricultural economy, changing societal priorities, rapidly growing population and complacency by many land managers. As one challenge is met, others will emerge. Events like Atlantic Soils 2016 are necessary to maintain our focus on soil health and to identify and address both existing and emerging challenges to the sustainability of soils. Sustaining soil health is essential to maintaining the ability of our soils to produce abundant and safe food now and in the present. This is a legacy we guard for future generation.
The Partners of Atlantic Soils 2016 wish to thank the Province of New Brunswick for its assistance with speaker cost, audio visual service and simultaneous translation.