Submitted to: Washington National Cooperative Soil Survey Work Planning Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: ARS scientists are indebted to the NCSS for the wealth of soil information and classifications from soil surveys. ARS scientists continuously use the soil survey data generated by NCSS in planning, executing and the completion of research. These broad soil classifications have provided scientists with a wealth of soil resource information and have made further rdiscoveries possible. For the future, we need to continually increase the responsiveness of NRCS and ARS to customer needs. We must increase the awareness of our customers of the importance of soils, who we are and how our work benefits society. We need to ensure increased customer access to our technology and research results. Greater communication is needed at all levels of our agencies, but most importantly at the field level. This communication also needs to be followed by timely exchange of information. We, at ARS, need to ensure increased relevancy of the ARS program to the needs of NRCS. NCSS can point with pride to the impact that the Soil Surve effort has made on ARS research planning and impact. Successes also include the inclusion of soil quality analysis into soil survey information. The continued addition of biology and ecology in these surveys is needed. Communication between the agencies is key to our continued success. Our goal should be to partnership to meet the needs of the nation regarding conserving natural resources and protecting the environment. This will preserve our environment, ensure a safe food supply and clean environment for the future generations.
Technical Abstract: Interactions between the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Cooperative Soil Survey (NCSS) have often been mutually beneficial, while others interactions illustrate the work of the one agency benefitting the other. In these times of flat or reduced budgets and greater demands on everyone's time, it is even more apparent that agencies need to work together and future collaboration is critical. Both the NCSS and ARS have similar mission statements and rely on one another for assistance. The similarity in our mission statements indicates our past examples and potential for future collaboration due to our common goals. The ARS mission statement indicates that ARS has responsibility to conduct agricultural research and provide science based natural resources technology to NRCS, NCSS and others. The NCSS mission statement is similar and states that they are to produce and deliver scientifically-based soil information to help society to understand, value and wisely manage global resources. One of the challenges is to learn how to use the soil survey information for better land use planning, whole-farm designs, and watershed management. An area of greatest need is the consideration that soil is a living, dynamic entity and is one part of the continuum of life. A greater emphasis on soil biology and the ecology of a system will expand the use of soil survey activities.