Soil and Plant Analysis Council: A Model for Scientific Innovation, Education, and Development
Soil and plant analysis has been a major contribution to the development of the agricultural sciences and indirectly to sustaining mankind. The advances that have occurred in the various disciplines in soil science, agronomy, and crop science would have been impossible without parallel advances in analytical technology. Despite the many divisions in the journals of the Soil Science Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, and American Society of Agronomy, none is solely devoted to the discipline of analysis of soils and plants and related areas. However, the Soil and Plant Analysis Council (SPAC) fills that critical void because it is an international society of scientists, educators, and private and public organizations with a common interest in promoting analysis of soils, plants, water, manure, and fertilizers. The primary emphasis is on nutrients in relation to crop production and increasing environmental issues. The main goal of SPAC is to provide leadership in the development and dissemination of methodology, interpretation, and application of analysis for efficient resource management and environmental protection. Its activities include publications (methods handbooks, symposia and workshop proceedings, newsletter), liaising with national agencies and commercial organizations to standardize and improve analytical procedures, maintenance of a laboratory directory, and holding international symposia. The Council has played a significant role in expanding the breadth, depth, and scope of analytical technologies in North America as well as internationally.