Meristem Land and Science: Driving Progress in Sustainability


2014 National Soil Conservation Week targets conservation agriculture

Posted: April 9, 2014

It's a movement being felt around the world. Conservation agriculture is in the spotlight in Canada and internationally.

Canadian farmers have been leaders in developing and adopting soil management practices that help anchor conservation agriculture. This effort will be celebrated during National Soil Conservation Week, April 20 to 26, 2014. And the progress it has generated will be highlighted as part of a special international conservation event that Canada hosts in Winnipeg, in June of this year.

"Farmers understand that all of society is interested in sustainable soil management today," says Glen Shaw, executive director of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada (SCCC). "The techniques Canadian farmers have been part of pioneering, such as reduced tillage farming and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are revolutionizing cropping systems."

Innovations in no-till or zero tillage seeding equipment, where crops are planted through the soil protecting residue cover of the previous crop, have been led by Canadians, says Shaw. No-till planting technology based on Canadian designs has been exported to countries around the world.

"At one time soil conservation simply meant controlling erosion to most people," says Shaw. "Today, consumers want to know where their food comes from. Producers' farms are part of broad food production and sustainable soil management systems and soil conservation is seen as essential to feeding an increasing world population.

Addressing environmental challenges is 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. SCCC, in partnership with the Conservation Technology Information Centre (CTIC), is bringing this event to Winnipeg, Man. June 22 to 25, 2014.

"This conference will showcase North American farm developments such as no-till farming systems to the world," says Don McCabe, SCCC president. "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 growing more, more efficiently; weather proofing agriculture; and increasing the adoption of sustainable practices through innovation. The Congress will feature 90 speakers, with up to 700 attendees of which half are expected to be producers. New ideas from around the world will be showcased and producers will have an opportunity to speak directly with industry representatives, scientists and leading growers.

As a charter supporter of National Soil Conservation Week, SCCC has worked to tell the story of conservation across Canada, says Glen Shaw. The past several years the organization has acknowledged this by recognizing producers and others from across the nation 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 and information on soil conservation 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.'