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Position paper - Position on the Soil Health Law
The European Commission’s Soil Monitoring and Resilience Directive (Soil Monitoring Law) rightly aims to establish a comprehensive soil monitoring framework, policymakers must refine the legislation to address farmers’ roles, farming practices and the challenges of managing soil health, including the management of nutrients, water, pests, diseases and weeds and preventing soil degradation.
A comprehensive soil health definition should take into account the function of the soil and consider a holistic and qualitative framework that includes yield, climate change mitigation, restoration and conservation of biodiversity, and conservation of water resources. It should also distinguish between natural and productive soils as well as accommodate future scientific knowledge.
Farmers also need financial support to access cost-effective, transparent and accessible methods for monitoring soil health provided or subsidised by the Commission and/or Member States.
Finally, instead of developing a prescriptive list of practices, the legislation should focus on outcomes and include a toolbox that gives farmers the flexibility to align measures to specific farm conditions and incorporate new science-proven practices.
With these revisions to support farmers in prioritising soil health and implementing sustainable soil management practices, they can improve crop yields, reduce environmental impact and contribute to a sustainable agricultural system.