As part of the 2015 International Year of Soils (IYS) celebration, CropLife America (CLA) is supporting education about the importance of soil in agriculture.

Soil provides a foundation for plant growth, yet less than 11% of the world’s land surface is arable. Protecting this remaining land is vital as it can take more than 500 years to form just two centimeters of topsoil, a nutrient-filled layer crucial for crop growth. Through the use of crop protection products, farmers can practice conservation tillage to avoid soil disruption and keep topsoil healthy and productive.

“With an ever-decreasing amount of arable land, it is imperative to keep soil healthy,” commented Jay Vroom, president and CEO of CLA. “Precision agriculture and the advancement of crop protection products allow farmers to properly adjust and react to varying conditions in their fields. This exactness is the basis of modern agriculture—giving farmers the ability to increase yields while reducing the environmental impact.”

The Soil Science Society of America has developed unique monthly themes to showcase the diverse value of soil with March recognizing how Soils Support Agriculture. Educators can download activities as well as a PowerPoint presentation and a video, co-sponsored by the American Society of Agronomy, to help teach students about the significance of soil in agriculture. Topics include how plants obtain nutrients, the impact of erosion and the importance of practices such as precision agriculture.

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (UN) launched the IYS initiative on December 5, 2014, the first official UN World Soil Day. Within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, the goal of IYS 2015 is to increase awareness about the importance of soil for food security and ecosystem functions. Among a number of objectives, IYS 2015 seeks to promote investment in sustainable soil management activities. Visit www.croplifeamerica.org for more information on how modern agriculture helps growers practice conservation tillage and other environmentally sustainable techniques.