UN Sustainable Development Goal

15
Life on Land

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user photo Submitted by Lani Aulicino
Date published: 14 Apr 2017
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Soil Technologies Corporation: Providing Sustainable Products for Agriculture & Turf Management

Soil Technologies began in 1972, in the small innovative city of Fairfield, Iowa. It’s founder and President, Dr. Jim Schaefer, founded the company in order to create jobs in the community that people could feel good working for. Raised on a farm in Illinois, and holding a PhD in Agronomy, Schaefer was also looking for a way to get sustainable biological products into the world agronomic market. He found the perfect opportunity to achieve both dreams when he discovered a biofertilizer in the State of Washington that could treat one hectare (approximately 2.5 acres) of land, with only 100 grams. He adopted this technology, and started manufacturing it for distribution with the founding of Soil Tech in 1982. Since then, the company has invested in its own research & development to prepare soil technologies for world-wide distribution, and has created some of it’s own unique blends. These living soil applications, in the microbiological form they come, increases biodiversity in soils which leads to healthier ecosystems, and lessens or eliminates the need to use degrading chemical compositions to treat turf and other land. Golf courses are one of the principle clients of Soil Tech, as well as large field agriculture, open field and greenhouse horticulture, landscaping, and online direct to consumer merchandising. According to one Youtube review of Soil Tech’s TurfTech Bio-min product, one golf course over a 15 year period phased out the use of soil degrading chemical compositions to treat the turf, because they “realized they didn’t need it anymore.” They haven’t treated their course for brown patches since implementing Soil Tech solutions. The fact that the root systems and soils became so resilient, that they see absolutely no damage, even over harsh winters and summers, is a testament to the effectiveness of these biological innovations. Use of products like these is helping to reverse land degradation and prevents water pollution from run-off in a markedly short period over time. 
 Currently, the company exports their products nationally, and to over 25 countries. People are restarting lawns without conventional weed-killers, their Pond-Kleen product is helping restore lakes and ponds to better health and clarity, crops are being grown with plant-based fertilizers (which produces stronger, healthier crops without need for harmful synthetic treatments), composting is becoming an easier process, conventional insectisides are being replaced with effective, sustainable alternatives derived from garlic & neem, fungal invasions of garden crops are being treated effectively without compromising health, and people are starting to see both short and long term positive results. Naturally, the company is seeing an increase in sales, and is currently undergoing operational and management changes to adapt. Still based in its founding city of Fairfield, Iowa, SoilTech is on the road to great future expansion as success spreads from its solutions. Outside the company’s direct contribution to preventing land-degradation, President Schaefer also believes strongly in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). SoilTech was the principle donor to the current construction of a Regenerative Agricultural Center building, as support to the 10-month Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certification program at the city’s small international university, Maharishi University of Management. As part of the program, students are receiving an education and hands-on farming experience to gain the knowledge and skills necessary in the field. The world needs a shift towards sustainable food-production, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. On a personal note, when I was trying to get ahold of Dr. Schaefer for an interview, I learned he was in Kenya working on another life passion: teaching communities transcendental meditation. We connected via Skype from Nairobi, to Fairfield, where I learned about his second hat as President of a non-profit called Partners for World Peace. The also Fairfield based organization is dedicated to teaching children and communities the TM technique free of charge, to foster healthier, happier, sustainable communities. Looks like Dr. Schaefer has not only achieved his original dream to help create jobs for a community he loves, but is helping pave the way for true world peace through his actions in developing and leading Soil Tech, and his world community.