December 04, 2014

Don’t treat soil like dirt

On 5 December we celebrate the first World Soil Day, and 2015 will be the International Year of Soils - focal events for a company like Yara.
Barry Bull
Barry Bull

Did you know that about soils?

"Soil makes up a fairly small - roughly 10 percent - but critically important fraction of our planet earth," says Koen Van Keer, soil agronomist and Yara's Industry Relations Expert. "Soil sustains local farming communities and entire nation-states."

"It holds the nutrients that feed the crops which provide us food, fodder, fiber, and fuel," he continues. "It captures, purifies, stores and slowly releases the water we all depend upon. It stores the second largest pool of terrestrial carbon (after the oceans) and - if smartly managed - can hold part of the solution to mitigate global climatic change."

"People often consider soil simply as dirt," says Barry Bull, Yara's Agronomic Competence and Training Director. "We often waste or damage our soils. An estimated 40 percent of all arable soils are in a state of degradation. We assume that soil is abundantly available, while in fact it is a limited and vulnerable resource."

"Sound agronomic advice starts with knowing your soils," Barry firmly believes. "That's why our team of over 500 agri-professionals, active on the ground in over 50 countries, receives solid training on soils and sustainable soil management."

Celebrating soil

"Proper use of fertilizers, in combination with good agricultural practices, is key to keep soils healthy and productive. Both under- and over-use of fertilizers are detrimental to soil health. Our people out in the field, together with our network of distributors and partners, extend this knowledge to millions of farmers all over the world," Barry concludes.

"Today we celebrate the first World Soil Day, and the concurrent launch of 2015 as the International Year of Soils (IYS)," explains Natalia Federighi, Yara's Director Public Affairs and Institutional Relations.

"The IYS will serve as a major platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential ecosystem services," Natalia continues. "Yara fully endorses and actively supports this important initiative through soil awareness advocacy; soil-oriented research and innovation; and on the ground extension activities promoting the sustainable management of soils."

"Soil harbors an estimated quarter of global biodiversity, and it provides the main construction material for the houses in which at least 1/3 of the global population reside," Koen adds. "Soil is a precious resource we need to use more wisely."