By Amanda Brodhagen
Published: Farms.com, March 27, 2013

Farmers can play a pivotal role in the evolution of practicing good soil management, but it isn’t without its own set of challenges.

After a round table discussion on the topic of the opportunities and challenges of fostering healthy soils, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario – Gord Miller released a report from the event entitled “Investing in Soils for a Sustainable Future.”

The report outlines the opportunities that are available to increase carbon content in our soils as it pertains to agriculture.

“Farmers are vulnerable to climate change,” said the Commissioner, “but they are not helpless. As one roundtable participant put it: agriculture is 10 percent of the problem, but 20 percent of the solution. These numbers may be rough approximations, but they convey an important truth: there is much that farmers can do to both mitigate climate change and to adapt to it.”

The report highlights how farmers through proper management of the soil can help raise organic-matter levels in soils which will inevitably safeguard farmland use for future generations.

The roundtable discussion talked about the barriers facing farmers in terms of costs and risks of adapting to change to newer soil management practices.

“Our roundtable revealed a high level of agreement that society should share these new costs and risks with farmers,” said Miller. “The important question that remains is how to go about doing that fairly and cost-effectively.”

The full report can be found at: http://www.eco.on.ca/

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