Federal lawmakers digging into soil health practices and the impact on the economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Soil health may not sound like a major issue if you don’t live or work on a farm.


But Georgia Congressman David Scott said it’s critical to our food supply chain nationwide.

READ: Amtrak cancels all long-distance trains. Here’s why

“We don’t have a food shortage yet, but we’re on our way if we don’t take care of our soil,” said Rep. Scott.

Scott said he’s concerned about improving soil health nationwide.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says healthy soil helps reduce erosion, regulates water, improve nutrient cycling and save money on farm production resources.

READ: Winter Park High student, 15, accused of bringing gun, bullets to school in backpack

But right now, Rep. Scott said the nation depends heavily on other countries for something as simple as fertilizer -- which impacts soil health too.

“In order to help the soil, you have to understand how long the soil been there, the weather channels, what’s the climate like there and what’s best to grow in this environment,” said Rep. Scott.

Federal lawmakers are also digging into economic benefits of soil health.

READ: Report finds 12 percent of ads on piracy websites involve malware to target users

Some agriculture experts say the pandemic put a spotlight back on organic farming and the importance of where our food comes from.

They met with Steve Nygren who built and founded Serenbe, a neighborhood around a farm in Chattahoochee Hills, GA. He said people there spend less for healthier food.

“People pay a fee for that season’s growth, we feed 75 families regularly with vegetable for that week and it cost them $34 for the week so people who say you can’t’ afford, that’s just not true,” said Nygren.

READ: Past NBA star Shaq’s Big Chicken restaurants headed to Central Florida

He said soil health can impact human health.

“We’re spending more money on health than we ever had, and we need to redirect that to healthier foods and locally grown foods,” said Nygren.

He also wants Congress to invest more in smaller organic farms to keep this industry growing.

READ: New data shows Hispanics twice as likely to be killed by gun violence in Florida

“People regard organic [farming] not some specialty but that it’s part of the mainstream food system and we have recognize that and give them funding that gives them equal opportunity to compete with the large-scale farming,” said Nygren.

The Department of Agriculture is investing nearly $3 billion nationwide to various projects related to climate-smart farm production.

Click here to download the free WFTV news and weather apps, click here to download the WFTV Now app for your smart TV and click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.