Why it’s important: Some 36 million people in the region don’t have enough good food to eat, and degraded soils play a role in it. Success, Lal says, will mean “we can eliminate hunger and malnutrition in the region, and we can protect the natural resources that are now being degraded.”
CFAES’ Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and a 2019 winner of the prestigious Japan Prize, was interviewed for a recent story in the Wall Street Journal. In “How to Get Rid of Carbon Emissions: Pay Farmers to Bury Them,” Lal talks about whether paying farmers to sequester carbon to fight the climate crisis is realistic or not, and what some feasible goals could be. The story is here, but you’ll need a subscription to read it.
An op-ed in the May 13 edition of the Los Angeles Times quotes CFAES scientist Rattan Lal on the benefits of regenerative agriculture—practices such as using compost, minimizing tillage, and growing cover crops. Regenerative agriculture is a “win-win-win option” that can make the soil healthier, increase food production, and help fight climate change, he is quoted as saying. But it is “not widely understood” yet by policymakers, the public, and many farmers.
Forbes writer Bruce Y. Lee featured the work of CFAES scientist Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science, in an April 14 article titled “Here Is a Major Soil Problem That Will Affect Health.”
“The dirt on soil,” Lee writes, “is that it may be playing a major role in climate change, food security, and thus human health.”
Lal and Ohio State President Michael V. Drake, MD, are both quoted in the story on how, around the world, erosion, depletion, and other problems caused by poor soil management are threatening people’s ability to grow enough food.
A recent NPR story by Dan Charles featured the perennial grain called Kernza. Headlined “Can This Breakfast Cereal Save the Planet?” the story looked at Kernza’s benefits to the soil, which include preventing erosion and sequestering carbon; the scientists at the Salina, Kansas-based Land Institute who developed and are continuing to work with Kernza; and efforts by General Mills, the maker of Wheaties and Cheerios, to turn the new grain into cereal.
Kernza-wise, CFAES scientist Steve Culman and his colleagues are studying the grain as well, including as part of a multistate study. Read more on their work here and here.
CFAES soil scientist Rattan Lal formally received the Japan Prize today, Monday, April 8, in Tokyo. You can watch the ceremony in the video above. Ohio State President Michael V. Drake, First Lady Brenda Drake, and CFAES Wooster Director Dave Benfield were among the delegation from Ohio State attending the ceremony. The Japan Prize is considered one of the most prestigious honors in science and technology.