National soil information system grounding agriculture’s future

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Nurturing the food we eat, the plants we grow, the animals native to our land Australian soil is a fundamental pillar in the sustainability, productivity and growth of Australian agricultural industries.

What might seem like dirt to many, is the key component to maintaining a strong agricultural industry and thriving rural and regional livelihoods.

The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry in collaboration with CSIRO, Australia’s National Science Agency, is further enhancing the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS).

Launched in June 2023, an additional $6 million over 5 years has been invested through the Natural Heritage Trust for ongoing delivery and enhancement of the $15 million National Soil Strategy initiative.

First Assistant Secretary of Sustainability Climate and Strategy Nick Blong said soil is a valuable resource that needs to be protected and sustained.

“ANSIS is an important initiative that provides reliable soil data accessible to anyone online, Mr Blong said.

“As a system formed to support the evaluation of the health of Australian soil, ANSIS will help to inform stronger soil management practices that will deliver benefits to our agriculture sector and other industries.”

The initiative is part of the government’s Natural Heritage Trust Climate-Smart Agriculture Program, which is providing integrated investments to support the agriculture industry to strengthen climate resilience and sustainability, including soil health.

It also supports the National Soil Action Plan 2023-2028, a 5-year plan to improve soil health and management using coordinated measures nationally across policy, education, research and investment, and soil data information-sharing.

CSIRO lead scientist on the project, Peter Wilson, said the new system had been designed to bring data access efficiency to research, education and policy users.

Supporting development of information products and programs that help farmers and decision makers in the agricultural sector.

“We can’t underestimate how important soil is to future prosperity for the agriculture sector, particularly in the areas of sustainability, productivity, profitability and food security.

“Until now it has been difficult to find and access relevant soil data to get a national picture of the state of soils across the country to inform decision making.

“CSIRO has worked closely with stakeholders to develop this valuable platform to deliver nationally consistent soil data that will help inform the future management of our soils including opportunities for change or improvement.”

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