FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Agriculture, Aquaculture and Fisheries Minister Michael Olscamp to mark National Soil Conservation Week, April 15-21:

National Soil Conservation Week is an ideal opportunity to promote and recognize the importance of soil health and beneficial soil management practices for agriculture.

New Brunswick was the first province to officially recognize, by proclamation, the importance of healthy soil. Fifteen years ago the Holmesville Soil Series was proclaimed an official symbol of the province.

Holmesville soil is the most prevalent type in New Brunswick and is primarily located in the Upper Saint John River Valley. It is a fertile soil that supports high yields and provides some of the best conditions for potato production.

Efforts in support of soil conservation started many years ago when farmers in the Upper Saint John River Valley began to install conservation terraces to combat soil erosion in potato fields. These practices led to better crop production in a more sustainable manner.

Since then, the agricultural industry, related organizations and farmers in New Brunswick continue to support and promote all aspects of soil conservation.

Through the Growing Forward federal-provincial-territorial agricultural policy framework, our government provides and administers programs that support soil conservation efforts. These efforts range broadly across research trials to field demonstrations and then to the uptake of beneficial management practices.

With the rural nature of the province, New Brunswick may be well-positioned to address and take advantage of the upcoming challenges of climate change, but only if this precious soil resource is preserved for future use.