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May 15

Paper Rollout of "Soil Health and the Hydrologic Cycle" + 2024 BCCA Recipient Announcement

Join us for the IN-PERSON rollout of "Soil Health and the Hydrologic Cycle" and the announcement of the 2024 Borlaug CAST Communication Award (BCCA) recipient on May 15 at the Pivot Bio building in the Iowa State University Research Park, Ames, IA.

10:30 AM – 12 PM CST - Presentation, Q&A, Panel Discussion
12 – 12:30 PM CST - 2024 BCCA Announcement
12:30 – 1:30 PM CST - Light Lunch and Networking

More information about the paper, authors and panelists below.

This event is free, but registration is required.

Pivot Bio
2600 S Loop Dr, Ames, IA 50010
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May 15, 2024 10:30am CT - May 15, 2024 01:30pm CT



Briana M. Wyatt (Texas A&M University)

Panel Moderator

Todd Peterson (Ag Technology Specialist and Soil Health Champion–Retired) 


Jerry Hatfield, Director (retired), National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment

Sean McMahon, Insight Ag Consulting

Mitchell Hora, Founder & CEO, Continuum Ag

Dennis Todey, Director, Midwest Climate Hub

Stefan Gailans, Senior Research Manager, Practical Farmers of Iowa

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About the Paper

The paper focuses on the growing importance of soil health in agricultural science, recognizing its critical role in sustaining ecosystems, enhancing crop production, and supporting diverse biological functions. Soil health is defined by the USDA-NRCS as the ability of soil to function as a living ecosystem essential for plants, animals, and humans. This encompasses its capabilities to filter contaminants, cycle nutrients, offer physical support, and regulate water flow.

Key methods for assessing soil health involve measuring chemical, physical, and biological properties, with recent studies advocating for an integrated approach to better quantify and understand soil health dynamics. The paper underscores longstanding soil and water conservation practices like no-tillage and using cover crops to improve soil health, emphasizing their benefits, such as increased water storage, enhanced crop yields and resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Importantly, the paper aims to fill a crucial knowledge gap by focusing on the impacts of soil health practices on the hydrologic cycle. It seeks to provide a detailed analysis of how these practices affect water movement within ecosystems and offer evidence-based recommendations for policymakers and decision-makers on incorporating soil health improvements into agricultural and environmental strategies.

About the Authors

Task Force Chair

Briana M. Wyatt, Texas A&M University 

Task Force Authors

Jerry Hatfield, National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment (retired)

Ken Wacha, USDA

Rattan Lal, Ohio State University

Antonio Arenas, Iowa State University

Hannah Birge, The Nature Conservatory

Gary Schnitkey, University of Illinois

CAST Liaison

Todd Peterson, Ag Technology Specialist and Soil Health Champion (retired)