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News Release

Cooperative Soil Science Meeting Success and 2020 Highlights Report Released

Madison, Wis. ‒ February 2, 2021 ‒ On November 17, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Wisconsin hosted the 2020 Wisconsin Cooperative Soil Survey Meeting. This yearly meeting included soil scientists, as well as NRCS partners and users of soil survey data. The purpose of this virtual event was to bring cooperators and other soil science supporters together to collaborate and be informed on soil survey activities in the state. It also provided NRCS partners, such as academic professionals, the opportunity to present their new research and/or projects related to soil survey, soil health and other topics.  

WI Cooperative Soil Science Cover 2020The National Cooperative Soil Survey is a nationwide partnership of federal, regional, state, and local agencies and private entities and institutions. This partnership has worked cooperatively to inventory and publish information about soils throughout the country. Even though the initial soil survey of Wisconsin was completed in 2005, the Wisconsin Cooperative Soil Survey partnerships continue to improve soil survey data and communicate soils information.

“Without communication with the end users of soil survey information, it is difficult to know where there are deficiencies in the data and what unique customer’s needs may be, especially as the number of uses for soil survey continues to grow,” said Andrew Paolucci, NRCS Wisconsin Assistant State Soil Scientist.

The Wisconsin Cooperative Soil Science Program looks at the agricultural community as a critical user base but also recognizes many other groups utilize soils information. Needs are constantly changing. As needs change, partners work together to develop new data methods to meet those needs. Soil scientists must have broad knowledge of many different disciplines, such as ecology, geology, agronomy, forestry, GIS, data science and more. There will always be a need for soil scientists to collect and improve data, provide technical soil services and educate landowners and partners on soil practices.

“The Wisconsin Cooperative Soil Survey meeting is an important opportunity for both the soil experts and users to evaluate the current and future soil survey needs. Soil survey data is as dynamic and diverse as its users. Soils data collection and maintenance should be prioritized to meet the users needs,” explained Tim Miland, NRCS Wisconsin Acting State Soil Scientist.

Participants at the meeting discussed soil health, future updates to the soil survey and the existing partnership to develop ecological site descriptions for Wisconsin. The discussions following the presentations provided participants an opportunity to network, share ideas and identify future priorities for soil survey.

A report was compiled to showcase many of the projects presented at the 2020 Wisconsin Cooperative Soil Survey Meeting and other ongoing soil survey activities throughout the state. The booklet also includes several resources related to soil survey data. Read more about the benefits provided through the Cooperative Soil Science Program in the Cooperative Soil Science 2020 Highlights Report.

For additional information about the Wisconsin Soils Program visit the Wisconsin NRCS Soils Webpage.

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