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The 2011 ASHS Annual Conference

A New Multi-State Research Coordinating Committee for Linking Food Quality to Soil Health Benefits Following Adoption of Organic Management Systems

Monday, September 26, 2011
Kona Ballroom
Patrick Carr, Ph.D., North Dakota State University, Dickinson, ND
Cynthia Camberdella, USDA Soil Tilth Lab, USDA-ARS, Ames, IA
Craig Cogger, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State University, Puyallup, WA
Kathleen Delate, Iowa State Univ, Ames, IA
William Bruce Evans, Mississippi State Univ., Crystal Springs, MS
Jennifer Reeve, Associate Professor of Organic and Sustainable Agriculture, Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, UT
Xin Zhao, Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Research has established that soil health benefits result from adopting organic farming practices.  However, the relationship between the soil health benefits derived from organic farming methods and food quality is poorly understood.  A multi-state coordinating committee was formed in 2010 to foster improved coordination among scientists working on the organic farming-soil health-food quality connection.   Southern Coordinating Committee 083, Quantifying the Linkages Among Soil Health, Organic Farming, and Food, provides the vehicle for multi-disciplinary scientist teams in north central, northeastern, southern, and western U.S. regions to organize and work jointly on identifying the cause-effect linkages between organic farming practices, soil and food quality, and the environment. The inaugural meeting of the Coordinating Committee was held in November, 2010, at Long Beach, CA, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy.  A Coordinating Committee goal in 2011 is to increase the current number of eight horticultural scientist participants on the committee by at least 50%.  Convening the Coordinating Committee just prior to the 2011 American Society for Horticultural Science annual meeting in Waikoloa, HI, and presenting this poster paper will familiarize Society members with the committee and its goal.  We are hopeful that articulating benefits of committee participation will provide motivation for interested horticultural scientists to become formal participants. Committee participation will provide a venue for horticultural scientists to network and collaborate with peers from other disciplines, institutions, and regions interested in the organic farming-soil health-food quality connection.  Development of multi-disciplinary grant proposals and projects is one anticipated output resulting from these networking and collaboration opportunities.  Publication of refereed manuscripts is another.  Formation of this Coordinating Committee has generated an invited book chapter presently undergoing review, and plans to develop a multi-institutional and -state planning grant for submission to the USDA Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative in 2012.