Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future

2017 Annual Meeting | Oct. 22-25 | Tampa, FL

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Division: Special Sessions

Title: Special Session Symposium--Organic Agriculture Soil Health Research

Moderator: Diana Jerkins
Organizer: Diana Jerkins
Lead Community Sponsor:
Community Cosponsor: Organic Management Systems Community, Soil Health Community
Format: Oral Symposium
Keywords: organic agriculture, soil health and soil management

Session Description: Interest in and research results related to understanding soil health and management has been identified by researchers and farmers as the highest priority by OFRF and other surveys conducted in the last two years. (National Organic Research Agenda, 2016) Soil erosion costs $400 billion/year globally and decreases productivity by $37.6 billion/year in the U.S. Excessive tillage and use of synthetic materials can destroy soil structure and interfere with microbial and root exudates.  Nutrient retention and soil carbon improves soil organic matter and plant growth. There is a critical need to improve soil health in all agricultural systems and at a minimum maintain and decrease soil loss and increase ecosystem services provided by healthy soils.  This symposium will bring together researchers, extension, farmers and other organic agriculture stakeholders to provide current information on applicable research results. Nine issues have been identified ranging from effects of cover corps, compost and rotation, insect and disease management interactions with soil biology, urban environments, to influence of soil management practices on economic returns and best ways to disseminate information to producers. Research results are applicable to organic and conventional production systems to improve sustainability and profit. A panel discussion will examine future research needs.  Researchers will have the opportunity to engage in peer-to-peer exchange of ideas and initiate new research relationships. Results from this symposium can also influence the direction and priorities of organic research and policy. The Organic Management Section and Soil Health Community support this symposium and will assist along with a Program Committee of university partners (UFL lead), national and state farmer organization (FOG lead) to select speakers and provide outreach efforts. Conference organizers will provide scholarships for participants, especially students and farmers. Continuing education credits will be sought. Presentations and symposium proceedings will be available through the OFRF website.