In Helping Establish the Soil Health Institute, Bill Buckner Hopes to Learn How to Measure Soil Health, then Improve ItMon, 29 Feb 2016 04:50:23 CST
First there was the Soil Renaissance, an initiative established by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation in 2013. The effort was a convening of thought leaders, growers and organizations across industry sectors that looked at soil health and its role in a vibrant, profitable, sustainable natural ecosystem. As the group identified and addressed the diverse and complex issues regarding soil health, it was clear a national organization was needed to provide information and drive change. That national organization was announced in our nation's capitol this past December- the Soil Health Institute.
Bill Buckner, President and CEO of the Noble Foundation is the Chairman of the Board for the Soil Health Institute. The virtual Institute has been established to focus on five pillars - working to set soil health standards and measurement, building knowledge about the economics of soil health, offering educational programs, assisting in policy development, and coordinating research in all aspects of soil and soil health. It works directly with conventional and organic farmers and ranchers, public- and private-sector researchers, academia, policymakers, government agencies, industry, environmental groups and consumers – everyone who benefits from healthy soils.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Director of Farm Programming Ron Hays caught up with Buckner in Ardmore at the Texoma Cattlemen's Conference this past Friday and talked with him about his vision for the Institute. Buckner sees this new entity as a group that can help coordinate efforts to better measure soil health, identify where resources can best be used to do the research needed in understanding and improving soil health and encourage education at the farmer/rancher level to establish the practices that can result in a higher level of soil health than ever before.
According to Buckner, the top of his "to do" list for the Institute is to help establish the best way to measure soil health, which he believes will help get people on the same page of what soil health is and how we then work to improve it consistently in the future.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear their conversation about what the Institute is and where he and other agricultural leaders hope to take the soil health movement in the months and years ahead.
Buckner and a baker's dozen leaders make up the first board of directors for the Soil Health Institute. That list includes:
Bill Buckner, President/CEO, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation
Neil Conklin, Ph.D., President, Farm Foundation, NFP
Daniel DeSutter, President, DeSutter Farms
William Flory, President, Flory Farms
Jim Gulliford, Executive Director, Soil and Water Conservation Society
Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D., Laboratory Director, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment
Diana Jerkins, Ph.D., Research Director, Organic Farming Research Foundation
Bruce I. Knight, Principal/Founder, Strategic Conservation Solutions, LLC
Andrew W. LaVigne, President/CEO, American Seed Trade Association
Klass Martens, Owner, Lakeview Organic Grain
V. Larkin Martin, Martin Farm
Lara Beal Moody, P.E., Senior Director of Stewardship and Sustainability, The Fertilizer Institute
Jay Vroom, President/CEO, CropLife America
Wayne Honeycutt, President/CEO, Soil Health Institute
Honeycutt was named the first Chief Executive Officer of the Soil Health Institute earlier in February. To learn more about the Institute, you can visit their website here- and also take a listen to the conversation that Ron and Bill had this past Friday, available below.
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