Industry Group Formed to Advance Agriculture Nutrient Management in the United States

December 2020 - Bloomington, Illinois - The Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association (ALTA) is an industry organization committed to ensuring the quality of data to agricultural communities through encouraging the development, use, and acceptance of proven agricultural testing methods.

  • In December 2020, the Illinois Soil Testing Association became the Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association.
  • The Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association's primary objective is to promote high-quality testing data to improve farm production, profitability, and sustainability.
  • To meet this objective, the Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association offers two Certifications: ALTA- SAC (Soil Analysis Certification) and ALTA-PAC (Plant Analysis Certification)

As a result of continued growth over the last 30 years, the Illinois Soil Testing Association (ISTA) re-branded itself as the Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association (ALTA) in December 2020. This industry organization will be a leader in ensuring consistency, precision, and accuracy across agriculture laboratories nationally. ALTA plans to reach this goal through outreach, education, and certification programs.

"The Illinois Soil Testing Association (ISTA) has changed its name to the Agricultural Laboratory Testing Association (ALTA) to reflect the scope and territories that our membership serves.  Our member laboratories offer a broad range of agricultural testing and services across the United States.  ALTA's mission is to support all types of agricultural testing laboratories so they may provide the best analysis and information.  We will support that mission by providing education and certification programs that help ensure quality and innovation in our industry."

Tim Smith, CropSmith, Inc., Laboratory Owner, ALTA President, Farmer City, IL

ALTA has developed two certification programs, one for soil analysis (SAC, Soil Analysis Certification) and another for plant tissue testing (PAC, Plant Analysis Certification). These programs were initially created by the Illinois Soil Testing Association and have earned respect in the region for creating a high standard for testing quality.  These programs' objective is to assure soil and plant analysis provided to Ag producers nationally are within laboratory statistical norms (consistent, precise, and accurate).  Based on this premise, certifications help ensure labs follow the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) code 590 of nutrient management guidelines for testing and recommendations.

"ALTA is a very important organization for our company because it provides validity to our test data and demonstrates to our customers that we can produce accurate results.  The meetings offer members targeted education and a collective forum for the exchange of ideas focused on the agricultural laboratory."

Greg Neyman, A&L Great Lakes Laboratories, Director – Green Industries Division, Fort Wayne, IN

 ALTA is positioned to lead the agriculture testing industry nationally, driving the discussion around how to ensure precision and accuracy of agriculture data moving into the next decade. Providing educational opportunities for members, engaging the public, and offering relevant certification programs are methods ALTA will help member companies grow while creating a sustainable future.

"The ALTA organization provides a forum for agronomists and testing laboratories to educate and advance Agriculture nutrient management in the United States.  Through workshops and laboratory certification program for soil and plant analysis, ALTA sets a standard of professional excellence."

Robert O. Miller, Ph.D. ALP Technical Director, former Affiliate Professor Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

 In 1981 the Illinois Soil Testing Association (ISTA) was founded to help address Illinois growers' need for quality soil test information.  Over time the group grew to represent the region and was re-branded in 2020 as the Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association (ALTA).  ALTA's primary objective is to promote the interests of the agriculture testing industry in the United States and promote high-quality testing data that will improve farm production, profitability, and sustainability. ALTA works towards this goal by creating educational opportunities and laboratory certification programs.

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