The Global Soil Security Symposium will be held May 19-21 on the Texas A&M University campus as a part of the declaration of 2015 as the International Year of Soils by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Global Soil Partnership.

“This is an opportunity to recognize the importance of soil science in our current global challenges of human health, food and water security, and the role of soil in biodiversity under a changing climate,” according to Dr. Cristine Morgan, Texas A&M department of soil and crop sciences professor and a co-chair for the event.

“It’s critical that we recognize soil on the same policy plane as food, water and energy. Securing soil is imperative to our human development on this planet. We estimate that soil supports our planet to the tune of some $11 trillion annually,” said co-organizer Dr. Alex McBratney, University of Sydney professor of soil science.

“This Symposium will be a global forum of new and optimistic ideas concerning soil and its place in sustainable development. It represents an exciting and demanding new era for soil science, which I believe we shall respond to quickly, positively and successfully.”

WHO: International and U.S. experts and innovative thinkers from a range of disciplines, including agricultural and resource economics. The International Union of Soil Scientists, Soil Science Society of America, Texas A&M and others will host the three-day discussion.

WHAT: The symposium will open May 19 addressing global challenges and soil security and then spend time covering the five dimensions of soil security: capability, condition, capital, connectivity and codification. A complete outline of the meeting, including speakers and topics, can be found at http://bit.ly/1IM6g5b.

WHERE: The Symposium will be held on the Texas A&M campus at the Interdisciplinary Life Sciences Building, 301 Old Main Drive. Directions and parking information can be found at: http://bit.ly/1AgW6bi

Some key topics and speakers will be:

– Save the Soil to Save the Planet – Michael Jeffery, former Governor-General of Australia and advocate for soil health, Australia.

– U.S. Soil Policy – David Smith, U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service deputy chief for soil science and resource assessment, Washington, D.C.

– Securing Soil, Food and Energy Production in Agroecosystems – Julie Borlaug, The Texas A&M AgriLife Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture assistant director of partnerships, College Station.

– Imperatives and Opportunities for Enhancing Soil Health, Wayne Honeycutt, USDA-NRCS deputy chief for science and technology, Washington, D.C.

– Soil Renaissance and the Connection to Land Managers, Bill Buckner, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation president and CEO, Ardmore, Oklahoma.

– Energy and Economic Value of Soil – Dr. Bruce McCarl, Texas A&M Regents Professor and distinguished professor of agricultural economics, Nobel Laureate, College Station.

– Human Health and Soils – Dr. Florence Carré, European research program coordinator, INERIS Industrial Safety and Environmental Protection Scientific Division, France.

– How Soil Security is Important to Biodiversity – Dr. Helaina Black, The James Hutton Institute ecological sciences group leader, United Kingdom.

Other international speakers include:

– Andrea Koch, U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, Australia

– Dr. Damien Field, University of Sydney, Australia

– Dr. Estelle Dominati, AgResearch, New Zealand

– Dr. Johan Bouma, Wageningen University, Holland

– Dr. Jae Yang, Kangwon National University, Korea

– Dr. Luca Montanarella, European Commission, Italy

– Mike Grundy, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia

– Peter Wilson, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia

“We are delighted to see how the soil science and policy communities in the U.S. have engaged with the concept of soil security, which was first articulated at the Soil Carbon Summit in Sydney in 2011,” said Robert Hill, former Australian environment minister and adjunct professor at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, “We look forward to continued collaboration between the U.S. and Australia on this important work.”