Food security for a growing world population expected to top nine billion by 2050 remains a top concern for the United Nations and agricultural groups across the globe, the U.N. says a key area of focus is soil preservation.

Feeding a growing world population starts from the ground upThe focus on the health and management of the world’s agricultural soils was presented by FAO Deputy Director-General Maria Helena Semedo as a part of World Soil Day.

"The importance of soil for food security should be obvious. From the origins of civilization in early farming communities up through today, we can see how societies have prospered thanks to healthy soils and declined when their lands became degraded or infertile," said Semedo.

Soil management is no easy task as many U.S. farmers have faced extreme drought and are becoming more concerned with water conservation.

Semedo says soil management has been the most overlooked and widely degraded natural resource, but attitudes are starting to change. Another speaker at the event recognized the land as the foundation of agriculture, but also considers soil an important aspect of food safety and food security.

A release by FAO shows one quarter of the Earth's land areas are highly degraded due to a variety of human activities - including farming. Bad practices have resulted in water and soil erosion, topsoil compaction and nutrient loss.

Earlier this year, the U.N. identified reduced food waste as another solution to feeding the growing world population.