Conservation agriculture celebrated in 2013 National Soil Conservation Week
Posted: April 17, 2013
Canadian farmers are world leaders in developing and adopting soil management practices that are changing the face of Canadian agriculture. Those developments will be in focus during National Soil Conservation Week, April 21 to 27, 2013.
"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. Canadian famers have adopted reduced tillage on 81 percent of the land prepared for seeding. Fifty-six percent of Canada's farmland is planted under no-till or zero tillage systems.
Canada has led the way in the development of innovative no-till or zero tillage seeding equipment where crops are planted through the soil protecting residue cover of the previous crop. The residue cover prevents erosion and improves soil health. Canadian designed and manufactured no-till planters are exported to countries around the world.
Precision agriculture is becoming a common practice on farms. Producers use technology such as Global Positioning Systems (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."
The global emergence of a new generation of farming will be featured at the Sixth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture which SCCC, in partnership with the Conservation Technology Information Centre (CTIC), is bringing to Winnipeg in 2014, says Don McCabe, SCCC president.
"That conference will showcase North American 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."
The Congress will focus on intensifying cropping systems without expansion in land area, weatherproofing agriculture and increasing adoption of sustainable practices through innovation. The Congress will be attended by up to 700 attendees of whom half will be producers. New ideas will be showcased and producers will have an opportunity to speak directly with industry representatives, scientists and leading growers.
"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 and others 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 2013 soil champions and soil conservation in general, are available on the SCCC website www.soilcc.ca.
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 www.soilcc.ca and click on 'Join SCCC.'