The mission of the Mid-Atlantic Soil Testing and Plant Analysis Work Group is to increase the awareness, understanding, and interpretation of soil, plant, water, and waste analysis and its proper application to land and resource management through unbiased, scientifically sound information. The work group is a cooperative effort among the major university, commercial and private soil, plant, and waste analysis labs in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. region to regionalize the soil calibration/correlation processes for the development of nutrient and resource management guidelines among geographic areas that share similar soils, climate, and environmental concerns; encourage both analytical proficiency and adequate quality control/quality assurance for laboratories in the region that perform nutrient analyses; provide unbiased scientific reasoning for the use and interpretation of soil, plant, water, and waste analyses and its application to resource management; and facilitate the dissemination of research data and educational materials among public institutions, laboratories, and other entities that use information generated from soil, plant, waste and water analyses. These objectives are realized by the identification and discussion of critical issues at annual technical meetings and personal communication among representatives and other interested parties.

The need for accurate and timely analyses of soils, plant tissues, water, and waste materials using appropriate analytical and interpretation procedures is unquestionable, given the current emphasis on nutrient management and its impact on the quality of life in both rural and urban areas. Nutrient management issues are of high priority on the local, regional, and national levels, and a number of institutions, organizations, and agencies cooperate to ensure the economic sustainability of production agriculture and industrial activities while striving to maintain a healthy environment. It is widely recognized that effective nutrient analysis programs serve not only commercial agriculture, but also the general public, by ensuring that soil amendments are used wisely. Continuous changes in technology dictate the need to continuously reevaluate analytical method, information interpretation, and problem solving approaches for the betterment of society.