ALTA is an industry organization founded on the premise that farmers and others in the agriculture industry require information that is accurate, consistent, and reliable.  To address this need, ALTA maintains two certification programs to help ensure end-users in the agriculture industry have access too high quality testing results.  The Soil Analysis Certification (SAC) and Plant Analysis Certification (PAC) demonstrate a lab’s commitment to higher standards of data quality.  Details of those programs can be found here.


In 1981 the Illinois Soil Testing Association (ISTA) was founded to help address the need of Illinois growers for quality soil test information.  Since then it has grown to include member labs that service not just Illinois, but the rest of the Midwest, as well as the Southern and Northeastern United States.  As a result of this growth, the ISTA was re-branded in 2020 as the Agriculture Laboratory Testing Association (ALTA).


ALTA holds two meetings annually; a winter meeting and a summer meeting.  The meetings are designed to allow members to share information, collaborate, discuss on-going projects, conduct business, review field research, educate the public, and get to know our fellow members in the ag industry.


The primary objective of ALTA is to promote the interests of agriculture testing industry in the United States to promote high quality testing data that will improve farm production, profitability, and sustainability. These purposes are accomplished by:

  1. Promoting and developing educational activities related to agriculture testing and fertilizer recommendations such as workshops, field meetings, demonstrations and displays, and the preparation and distribution of educational materials.
  2. Cooperation with educational institutions and agencies concerning important problems confronting any segment of the soil testing profession.
  3. Counseling with governmental officials and administrators on laws, policies, regulations, rulings, procedures, and decisions directly or indirectly affecting soil testing or any segment of the soil testing profession.
  4. Counseling with industry leaders on matters of material interest and concern that may directly or indirectly affect soil testing or any segment of the soil testing profession.
  5. Developing and adopting standards of professional and business ethics among membership and by promoting equitable trade practices.
  6. Providing for and promoting the use of proper soil sampling procedures approved by the association.
  7. Providing for and promoting the use of soil testing procedures approved by the association.
  8. Providing incentives for laboratories to achieve the highest possible performance level of soil testing.
  9. Recognizing that recommendations for soil treatment are a professional judgment based on both an interpretation of the soil test results and a knowledge of the field history and should be made by or under the direct supervision of a qualified person meeting standards approved by the association.
  10. Fostering an organization that will be sound in its thinking and aggressive in its action with the necessary influence, ability and resources to carry out the purposes, objectives and mission of the association.