ARDMORE, Okla., Feb. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Soil Health Institute (SHI) today announced that it has selected one of the nation's top agriculture leaders to be the organization's first ever president and chief executive officer.
Wayne Honeycutt, Deputy Chief for Science and Technology for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS), has accepted the president and CEO position.
"Enhancing the health of our nation's soils is one of the most critical efforts of our lifetime," says Honeycutt. "The Soil Health Institute will be a leader in the soil health effort. I'm honored to work with the board of directors to lead this new organization. We are setting the stage to conduct life-changing research, education and adoption; and I cannot wait to see what we accomplish in the coming months and years."
Honeycutt brings more than 30 years of experience, an extensive personal network and in-depth knowledge. "During our interview process, it was clear that Wayne understands the soil health landscape and has a great vision for the future of the Soil Health Institute," says Bill Buckner, chairman of the Soil Health Institute board of directors. "He has the ability, knowledge and experience to make that vision come to life."
Honeycutt's work with the soil began on his family's 120-acre farm in Metcalfe County, Ky. There he learned what it takes to grow corn, tobacco, vegetables and other crops. That work piqued his interest in how to ensure the land had the valuable nutrients and other qualities it needed to remain sustainable for years to come. As a result, he secured a Master of Science degree in Soil Science from the University of Kentucky as well as a Ph.D. in Soil Genesis from Colorado State University.
In his professional career, Honeycutt has dedicated himself to service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. As a scientist and researcher, he put his skills to work for USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS), where he conducted field research, coordinated and led interdisciplinary research projects, facilitated technology transfer, established guidelines for national research networks, and consulted on policy.
Most recently, Honeycutt has served NRCS, leading its soil health campaign. This effort has achieved national and international recognition for its training materials, communications, partnerships, scientific expertise, technology transfer, adoption rates, landowner benefits, and environmental benefits.
"Anyone who knows Wayne, knows that he is passionate about improving the health of our soil," Buckner says. "He understands soil is the foundation for our entire society, and he has committed his entire career to making sure this precious resource is not only protected, but enriched."
About the Soil Health Institute
The Soil Health Institute's (www.soilhealthinstitute.org) mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of the soil. An evolution of the Soil Renaissance, an initiative established in 2013 by the Noble Foundation and Farm Foundation to advance soil health and make it the cornerstone of land use management decisions, the Soil Health Institute serves as the primary resource for soil health information. It focuses on five pillars - working to set soil health standards and measurement, building knowledge about the economics of soil health, offering educational programs, assisting in policy development, and coordinating research in all aspects of soil and soil health. It works directly with conventional and organic farmers and ranchers, public- and private-sector researchers, academia, policymakers, government agencies, industry, environmental groups and consumers – everyone who benefits from healthy soils.
SOURCE Soil Health Institute