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03 December 202

Defra Secretary George Eustice spoke at the CLA Conference on Thursday, highlighting his vision for England’s future agricultural policy, which will be more flexible with fewer rules attached. Further details were published on the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI) which will begin with two soil standards at the start of 2022. Environmental groups have voiced their concerns about the new payment rates being too low and lacking ambition. 

The Sustainable Soils Alliance has published a new report Soil in the UK Supply Chain: How the food and drink industry can support the transition to sustainable, regenerative agriculture and Net Zero ahead of World Soil Day on Sunday. The report demonstrates that efforts by major UK food and drink businesses to promote soil management throughout their supply chains will not have a tangible impact on Net Zero, biodiversity or sustainable farming outcomes without a more ambitious and collaborative approach. It sets out five recommendations to these businesses. 

Deputy President from the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW), Ian Rickman, has called for a singular and UK Governed Soil Carbon Code to better value existing soil carbon storage and to provide a level playing field for farmers trading carbon. As he addressed the COP Cymru 21, he highlighted that the Welsh farming industry is ready to help tackle the climate crisis but that this requires a level playing field.

During the World Soil Day official early online celebrations "Halt soil salinization, Boost soil productivity" on Friday (12.30 CET),  the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) is launching the International Network on Soil Biodiversity (NETSOB). NETSOB aims to bring soil biodiversity experts and existing initiatives together to become the critical mass that contributes to the implementation of the Global Soil Biodiversity Observatory (GLOSOB). 

The Global Soil Laboratory Assessment Report, a joint effort by 241 laboratories in 142 countries led by Global Soil Laboratory Network (GLOSOLAN) will be launched on the same occasion. The report highlights the status of soil laboratories, their capacities, and their challenges on a global scale.

A new project from the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN) plans to map the world’s vast networks of underground fungi to protect them from damage and improve their ability to absorb and store carbon dioxide. These fungi networks are vital to the biodiversity of soils and soil fertility, however little is known about them.

To help people celebrate World Soil Day on Sunday - several articles have highlighted the ways we can care for soils in our gardens and/or outdoor spaces. Wicked Leeks has published some tips on how to ensure soils are healthy and resilient during these winter months. Another article covers the common mistakes people make with garden soils - from excessive digging to excess fertiliser.