The Soil Health Assessment Center originated in 1985 when the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, in cooperation with the National Resources Conservation Service, funded an in-state soil lab to aid the ongoing Missouri Soil Survey. MDNR provided the initial funding to set up the Soil Characterization Lab in CAFNR and provided financial support until the Missouri Soil Survey was completed in 2008. The laboratory has changed locations several times over the years; from 2002 through 2014 it was housed in the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department. At the start of 2015 the lab returned to its roots in CAFNR and moved into a newly remodeled facility at the university’s South Farm.
Soil characterization deals with the physical and chemical properties of soil, but does not typically address the biological component. Since around 2010, interest in the biological component of soil has grown rapidly and this more holistic approach to the study of soil has been encompassed under the umbrella of Soil Health. In recognition of this new approach to the study of soils, the lab is now known as the Soil Health Assessment Center. The lab has added several new analyses to its existing line of soil tests to reflect this new emphasis on soil health.
The laboratory is located at 3710 South Farm Drive.