Developing an Affordable Soil Health Test for the Appalachian Region to Incentivize Sustainable Agricultural Production

Progress report for LNE21-420

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2021: $248,302.00
Projected End Date: 02/29/2024
Grant Recipients: West Virginia University; University of Kentucky
Region: Northeast
State: West Virginia
Project Leader:
Dr. Eugenia Pena-Yewtukhiw
West Virginia University
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Project Information

Summary:

Problem and Justification: Soil health (SH) is the outgrowth of recognition that soil is a dynamic and complex environment harboring multiple functions. For the small-scale farmer, adopting practices known to improve soil health is hampered by the expense of laboratory soil tests giving quantitative measures of SH that may be related to productivity. The suite of approved/proposed SH measures to be provided through routine laboratory tests has not been examined for their value to, and potential adoption by, small farmers.

Solution and Approach: We propose an iterative and participative three-stage approach to increased SH adoption that relies on field and laboratory research, economic assessment, and education. Team members will identify 30 to 50 participating farmers representing two key Appalachian region land uses located in West Virginia; high tunnel production (USDA defined specialty crop) and managed grasslands (hay/pastures). Stage 1: Farmers will be identified by the WVU Soil Testing Lab and WVU extension agents. Based on soil samples collected from these farms, and considering SH variables suited to laboratory determination, we will work field-to-lab to identify the most responsive laboratory biological (e.g. respiration, enzyme), chemical (e.g. nutrients) and physical (e.g. aggregation) methods to distinguish categorical SH levels (e.g. low, medium, good) related to land-use productivity. Soil health test results will be correlated to productivity of chosen land uses so as to generate preliminary management recommendations. Correlation will be based on yield measurements for the crops common to high tunnels and grasslands and/or to indigenous/local productivity knowledge. A short-term evaluation of perceived benefits from SH testing will be made. Surveys will evaluate interest and potential adoption by additional farmers. Stage 2: Cost optimization for the best SH tests previously identified will be used to select the best combination of analyses (price/efficiency/farmer approval) for Appalachian farmers. Our goal is to create a suite of SH tests with a cost of less than $35 for WV landowners (WV partially subsidizes routine analyses) and less than $45 for other Appalachian states. Stage 3: For the methods selected in Stage 2, we will design field soil sampling and sample submission methods, a sampling Do-It-Yourself ‘kit’ for the Appalachian region (as defined by the Appalachian Regional Commission). With the participation and feedback of early farmer participants, and support of extension agents from several WV counties, educational videos will be developed to illustrate to prospective users the how, when, and where of effective SH sampling, lab report interpretation, and the economic and environmental benefits to implementation of recommended practices. Early adopters can demonstrate the effectiveness of improved SH management and stimulate the broader adoption of SH testing and SH management.

Performance Target:

At project’s end we expect that lower soil health test costs will motivate 100 farmers/year (in WV and other neighboring Appalachian States) to adopt the New WV Appalachian Soil Health Test for 25/year high tunnels and 1000 grassland acres, repeating the test every two to three years and implementing recommended management/conservation practices (organic materials amendment, rotational grazing) and causing a 20% improvement in later measures of one or more soil health indicators.

Introduction:

Soil health is the outgrowth of recognition that soil is a dynamic and complex environment harboring multiple functions. For the small-scale farmer, adopting practices known to improve soil health is hampered by the expense of laboratory soil tests giving quantitative measures of soil health that may be related to productivity. The suite of approved/proposed soil health measures to be provided through routine laboratory tests has not been examined for their value to, and potential adoption by, small farmers. We propose an iterative and participative three-stage approach to increased soil health adoption that relies on field and laboratory research, economic assessment, and education. Team members will identify 25 to 50 participating farmers representing two key Appalachian region land uses located in West Virginia; high tunnel production (USDA defined specialty crop) and managed grasslands (hay/pastures). Stage 1: Farmers will be identified by the WVU Soil Testing Lab and WVU extension agents. Based on soil samples collected from these farms, and considering soil health variables suited to laboratory determination, we will work field-to-lab to identify the most responsive laboratory biological (respiration, enzyme), chemical (nutrients) and physical (aggregation) methods to distinguish categorical soil health levels (poor, good, excellent) related to land-use productivity. Soil health test results will be correlated to productivity of chosen land uses so as to generate preliminary management recommendations. Correlation will be based on yield measurements for the crops common to high tunnels and grasslands and/or to indigenous productivity knowledge. A short-term evaluation of perceived benefits from soil health testing will be made. Surveys will evaluate interest and potential adoption by additional farmers. Stage 2: Cost optimization for the best soil health tests previously identified will be used to select the best combination of analyses (price/efficiency/farmer approval) for Appalachian farmers. Our goal is to create a suite of soil health tests with a cost of less than $35 for WV landowners (WV partially subsidizes routine analyses) and less than $45 for other Appalachian states. Stage 3: For the methods selected in Stage 2, we will design field soil sampling and sample submission methods, a sampling Do-It-Yourself ‘kit’ for the Appalachian region. With the participation and feedback of early farmer participants, and support of extension agents from several WV counties, educational videos will be developed to illustrate to prospective users the how, when, and where of effective soil health sampling, lab report interpretation, and the economic and environmental benefits to implementation of recommended practices. Early adopters can demonstrate the effectiveness of improved soil health management and stimulate the broader adoption of soil health testing and soil health management.

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand/collapse or show everyone's info
  • Dr. John Spargo (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. Mirjana Bulatovic-Danilo (Educator and Researcher)
  • Dr. William Shockey (Educator and Researcher)
  • David Stas (Educator)
  • Charles Nester

Research

Hypothesis:

Making soil health testing affordable to small farmers in WV and the Appalachian Region will increase adoption of conservation practices that promote sustainable agricultural production.  Can a cost-effective suite of laboratory soil health measures for the region’s soils/plant production systems, measures that will be diagnostic of current and changing soil health, be found and correlated to productivity in order to accomplish this goal? Research based educational materials, produced in an iterative fashion with the collaboration of farmers and extension agents, will increase the adoption of the new laboratory SH test suite.

 

Year 2021:

The hypothesis we proposed for the project continues to drive our proposed research and education goals. (see results for more info)

Materials and methods:

The project takes place in the Appalachian Region, in West Virginia (Figure 1, Supplemental File), with participation of research and extension faculty from the University of Kentucky. Thirty to fifty producers (first adopters) from ten WV counties will be identified and invited to participate. Producer farms selected for sampling should contain ‘benchmark’ soils (Tilsit, Gilpin, and Berks soil series) of the Appalachian Plateau Physiographic Region (Figure 2, Supplemental File).

The research is divided into three components: Field/Lab research, Field correlation research, and Economic research.

 

Field/Lab Research:

Objective 1): Select laboratory measurements that are SH ‘indicators’. From these, develop a production system specific Soil Health Test (laboratory SH measurements suite).

Objective 2): Generate sampling protocols for selected SH indicators. Develop ‘sample/sampling kit’.

 

a) Treatments:

Treatments are a factorial combination of four factors. We selected three (3) common production systems: managed grassland (for hay and for grazing, separate systems) and high-tunnels. Each field/high-tunnel is divided into productivity zones deemed low, medium and high using indigenous farmer knowledge or measured plant productivity. Each field zone will be sampled 0-6 inches deep, at two times (spring and fall), and for two shipping methods (conventional and WVU proposed). Combinations of production systems, field zones, sampling season, and submission method will create 36 different treatments (3*3*2*2). The rationale for selecting these factors are: 1) the representativity/importance of chosen production systems for Appalachia; 2) the need to correlate SH with productivity; 3) that SH properties are dynamic, changing with time and no recommendation for SH property sampling time exists; 4) that SH properties are management-related; and 5) that SH properties are known to be sample-handling sensitive such that an alternative SH sample shipping method needs evaluation.

b) Field and Lab Analysis Methods:

The variables to be analyzed in the first set of samples are presented in Table 1, and the analysis methods are in the supplemental file (Methods and references).

 

Table 1. Soil health indicators to be measured and evaluated.

Physical

Texture

Structure/Aggregation: Modified WVU wet aggregation

Available Water/Water Retention

 

Chemical

pH

Electrical Conductivity

Organic Matter

Available Elements (Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium)

 

Biological

POxC

Dehydrogenase Activity

Mineralizable Nitrogen

Biomass/Plant Speciation

Soil Respiration

 

We will determine factor significance/impact on measured variables using statistics. With this information we will know which variables are more stable, and will select the more sensitive variables by production system, site productivity, sampling season, and submission method. We will recommend the most robust laboratory SH measures in the “New WVU Soil Health Test”.

c. Farmer Input:

Since 2019 informal phone surveys have been conducted by the WVU Soil Testing Laboratory. Farmers ask about postage and SH testing costs; soil sampling instructions; and about resulting recommendations. During the farm/field identification and sampling process, we will rely on participating farmers’ indigenous knowledge as representative samples from high-tunnel/field locations regarded as low, medium or good in productivity are taken and returned to the WVU Soil Test Laboratory. Producers will also be asked to collect/provide relevant yield and/or other productivity data. Additionally, farmer feedback will be used when developing the new WVU Soil Health soil test report.

 

Field Correlation Research:

Objective 1): Use correlation analysis to select among laboratory SH measurements (Table 1) for those better related to high-tunnel and grassland productivity. This may include correlation with qualitative, indigenous, measures of productivity.

Objective 2): Develop preliminary recommendations, using experimental and literature data, to link laboratory SH measures with recommended practices. Practices may include cover cropping, tillage reduction/cessation, organic matter addition, crop rotation components, and grassland management options.

 

a) Procedures:

Field/high-tunnel sampling sites are assigned, via indigenous knowledge or field measurement, as either low, medium, or high productivity. Indigenous knowledge comes from the cooperating farmer/grower. Field measurements of productivity will include biomass/botanical composition to determine dry matter production of desirable species in grassland systems and horticultural crop yields under high-tunnel production. In the absence of field production measurements, qualitative indigenous assignments will become the response variate correlated with the laboratory SH measurements – this may be especially important in plant-species-diverse high tunnel systems. The rationale for this approach to determining productivity level is that farmer/grower’s experience is sufficient to make the assignment. The assumption that these sampled areas will have correspondingly low, medium and high SH is hypothesized and subject to the outcome of the correlation analysis.

b) Correlation Analysis Methods:

Correlation analysis is determining the relationship, if any, between y, the response variable (productivity measured or assigned), and the x variable (laboratory SH measurement). All laboratory SH tests (Table 1) would be evaluated to determine those SH measures most responsive/sensitive, and best able to predict productivity. Combinations of laboratory SH tests would also be examined. The data would be divided according to production system and, perhaps, sampling season. Chosen laboratory SH measures will be subject to the economic analysis described below.

c) Data Collected:

Data collected for this research component/analysis are the productivity information/data as related to each sample location, and the SH measurements listed in  Table 1.

 

Economic Research

Objective 1) Use data from the proposed laboratory SH test analyses (Table 1) to identify a cost-efficient suite of SH measures for small Appalachian farms.

Objective 2) Estimate farmer willingness to pay (WTP) for SH testing/adoption.

 

a) Study Population(s): 30-50 small Appalachian farms with grassland and high-tunnel production.

b) Methods:

According to producer theory, farmers face a profit maximization problem: they need to maximize revenues and/or reduce costs to attain higher profits. Our economic objectives contribute to farmer profit maximization problems in two ways: 1) devising a cost-efficient SH test and; 2) determining farmer WTP for SH testing. WTP can be determined using farmer information on how much they would spend on a soil test (i.e. stated preference methods).

c) Data Collection and Analysis:

A nonparametric approach is used to determine the most cost-efficient SH test suite (i.e. group of tests with highest explanatory power at lowest possible cost). This approach minimizes the cost of an SH test of a explanatory power, given input cost (i.e. input price times quantity). Inputs considered include labor, laboratory facilities/equipment, turn-around time, and chemicals (Model 1 Supplemental File). The approach ranks SH test combinations from most to least efficient. Results will cause identification of soil test combinations minimizing testing costs while ensuring representativity. This determines the most cost-efficient SH test that can be supplied. Next we determine farmer WTP (i.e. demand). WTP for SH testing is estimated using a contingent valuation model (CVM) and data collected from farmer surveys (Model 2 Supplemental File). Information on WTP estimated from surveys at the project start will aid in choosing a cost-efficient SH test. At project’s end we overcome a criticism of CVM, that respondents may overstate their WTP due to biases, by investigating whether farmers will buy the SH test at the price we determined.

d) Farmer Input:

Farmers will participate in: a) responding to surveys at project beginning and end; b) allowing soil sampling on their farms; and c) providing feedback on test costs and recommended practices. Farmer input may help identify subsidy amounts needed to motivate small farm adoption of SH testing.

 

Year 2021: 

No changes were made to any project portion, including the materials and methods (see results for more info).

 

 

Research results and discussion:

The project has not generated farmer field results at this point.

Year 2021:

The hypothesis we proposed for the project continues to drive our proposed research and education goals.

Materials and Methods:

We selected and recruited two undergraduate students and two graduate students to work part time in our project, especially to support field soil sampling, and lab analysis. Since June 2021, the students have been trained in soil sampling and laboratory analysis (Fig 1).

Sampling separation for analysis
Figure 1. Sampling diagram and sample partition for laboratory analysis

We have been running preliminary samples and taking data in the Soil Physics and the WVU Soil Testing laboratories.

Treatments:

We took soil samples at WVU’s certified Organic Farm to test the sensitivity of some variables (organic matter, aggregation) to the treatments described in our proposal. We sampled seven production systems within the main management systems selected for our SARE grant: Non-fertilized Hay (NF Hay), Fertilized Hay (F Hay), Fertilized Pasture (F Pasture), Non-fertilized Pasture (NF Pasture), and market-garden (Fallow, Brassica, and Tomato).

Analysis:

We used statistical analysis (ANOVA) on the data collected from experimental areas that mimic the treatments selected for this grant. We concluded that the selected design treatments will give robust results when the SARE farmers’ field data analysis is completed.

The soil from the vegetable market garden system (Fallow, Brassica, and Tomato) was found to have a statistically significant higher proportion of aggregates less than 1 mm in size (fract_Less_1mm) than was found in the other fields (Fig. 2).

Preliminary data Year 2021.
Figure 2. Percentage of dry aggregates less than 1mm.

Farmer Input:

We met unofficially with three farmers (not project participants) and asked their opinion of the experimental design. We showed them how the statistics would work in analyzing the data we expect to collect. We received positive verbal feedback, and we made notes about the questions they had, as we would use their input on our education/communication part of the project.

We created a survey, using updated information for existing national soil health laboratory analysis, that will allow us to recognize the preferences of farmers using the proposed Appalachian Soil Health Analysis that will be performed at the WVU Soil Testing Lab. The activities required to create/complete the survey included: zoom and face to face meeting between the PIs during Summer and Fall 2021 to discuss the survey.  We also completed the student training to collect supplementary information to support the survey. An IRB request was submitted to WVU Sponsor Programs on 05/28/2021, and based on the characteristics of the survey provided to WVU, the survey was classified as a Not Human Subject Research (NHSR). The Research Compliance administration office concluded that: 

  • The activity described does not meet the HHS or FDA federal definition of "research" that requires IRB review, amendments and/or approvals.
  • The activity meets the HHS or FDA definition of "research," but does not meet the corresponding regulatory definition of "human subject" requiring IRB review, amendments and/or approvals. (https://human.research.wvu.edu/get-started/determine-protocol-type/nhsr#NHSR%20Protocol%20Terms,%20Renewals%20&%20Amendments)

Our NHSR number is 2105323236, and was classified as not requiring review on 06/02/2021. The protocol is valid until 06/02/2026. 

Research conclusions:

The project did not generate farmer field results in  2021 but has generated data that were presented to non-participating farmers for their feedback.

From samples taken at the WVU certified Organic Farm on treatments similar to those to be studied in our SARE grant:

  • Soil physical health indicators (aggregation and organic matter) measured on the previous described treatments (see above) are sensitive and can be used to separate the selected treatments.

‒Management practices related to tillage caused statistical differences in dry aggregation variables.

‒High variability in the market-garden/high-tunnel production systems resulted in non-statistical differences for soil organic matter (data not presented).

‒The dry aggregation SH indicator created for this study, “proportion of aggregates less than 1mm”, accurately separated the treatment effects.

Based on these preliminary results, we are confident that our experimental design and treatment selection will allow us to complete the goals proposed for our SARE grant.

Participation Summary

Education

Educational approach:

Research and education will be aligned with each other from the beginning of the work. We will focus on remotely delivered materials, given their advantage in allowing greater numbers of farmers to participate, and small field training groups. Our education plan has three stages: 1) Soil health (SH) testing basics; 2) SH sampling and test result correlation; 3) SH result interpretation/recommended soil practices.

In Stage 1 farmers acquire knowledge on SH testing and its benefits. We are in Stage 1, and supported by  SARE's grant and reputation, we have been having direct conversations with farmers and collaborators, presenting our educational approach to smaller groups to get their support. We have requested informal feedback, which we are using to improve our educational approach and materials.

We have also started Stage 2 with the grant co-PIs, close collaborators, and "core farmer participants" by inviting them to participate in the refining of sampling procedures and in the making of videos to be shared with future participants and clients.

We have not yet started Phase 3.

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

1- Farmer and extension agents will learn about the project and participate in development of a protocol for site and farmer selection
Start in June 2021.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
5
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
4
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
2
Proposed Completion Date:
July 15, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #1 was delayed due to unexpected health problems affecting the team leader. Contacts with extension agents and farmers occurred between October 2021 and January 2022. Five (5) farmers/beneficiaries were selected and contacted with the help of extension agents and other researchers. Four (4) farmers have confirmed participation and have been in contact with the SARE grant team. We lost a project selected extension agent due to early retirement. We did substitute this agent with another by the end of the year. The retired agent will continue collaborating with the project, due to the time already spent on the project.

Proposed New Completion Date March 15th 2022.

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

2- Farmers (30) representing a range of high-tunnel growers and pasture farmers will be identified and “choose to participate” in project activities. Extension agents and the WVU Soil Testing Laboratory will collaborate to identify farmers by interest at the selected locations.
Start in June 2021.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
5
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
3
Proposed Completion Date:
July 30, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #2 was delayed due to unexpected health problems affecting the team leader. We have not received confirmation from all the contacted collaborators. We will pursue this commitment during the winter months and have a precise answer by the end of February. We will take until March 15th to have the group of participants selected. We have had good response and interest but we need to select farmers in different counties in the Appalachian region of WV.

Proposed New Completion Date March 30th 2022.

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

3- Farmers complete a survey about current soil health practices, perceived states of soil health in their fields/high tunnels, and limits/limitations to their use of soil health testing. They will meet with project staff to understand and determine commitment to project participation. They will provide feedback into soil health seminar development.
Start July, 2021.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
1
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
November 30, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone # 3 is in progress and was also delayed as explained for Milestones #1 and #2. The survey has been developed, and pilot testing of the survey is  being done in January/February 2022. Three students (graduate and undergraduate) were selected, and together with SARE coPIs are being trained to conduct the survey.

Survey will be saved with other products.

This Milestone will be combined with Milestone #1 and #2. This Milestone is expected to start in April 2022, and completed by September 2022.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

4- Site visits to farmers’ properties. Farmers will participate in sampling design sampling strategy to submit samples to the WVU soil testing lab. Receive soil samples from participants reflecting categorical levels of soil health (expecting ca. 200-250 samples in the first group). Develop educational videos for sample collection with the participation of the farmers, extension agents, and researchers. Collect feedback to improve the interactions between PIs, extension agents, and farmers.
From Jul-Dec 2021, and Jun-Sep2022.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
September 30, 2022
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #4 will have a delayed start (April 2022), but we expect to end this milestone in the time initially proposed. We are waiting for the confirmation of participant farmers (date to visit and sample their land). We have tested the efficiency of sampling on the university farms (time needed to collect the samples following the specific designed sampling method), and we have the logistics and activities to be performed at the farms organized.

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

5- Farmers will participate in determine yield responses/indigenous or local production knowledge from sampled field/high tunnel sites. A second soil sampling event in the previously sampled areas will assess changes due to time and production system. Assess soil health status of participant samples using suites of available soil health indicators. Intensive laboratory analysis of the received soil health samples (expect ca. 200-250 samples in the second group)
From Jul-Dec2021, and Mar-Dec2022.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
December 30, 2022
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #5 will have a delayed start (May 2022), but we expect to end this milestone in the time initially proposed.

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

6- Farmers will participate in a “remote” update/fall meeting to discuss the develop relationships/correlations between measured yield and indigenous/local production information and the measured laboratory soil health/test data. We will draft educational materials. Feedback will be requested on their degree of satisfaction with project progress and on the proposed education materials being developed. Recommend appropriate SH practices to participants based on least favorable SH indicator (i.e. the indicator in most need of improvement).
Start in November 2021.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Actual number of farmer beneficiaries who participated:
1
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
2
Proposed Completion Date:
March 31, 2023
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #6 will have a delayed start (July 2022), but we expect to end this milestone in the time initially proposed.

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

7- Optimize diagnostic tests for soil health and determine the most cost-effective measures to use in assessing soil health status and change in soil health status. Describe second phase of the project.
Start in Mar 2022.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
August 31, 2022
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #7 will have a delayed start (Aug 2022), but we expect to complete this milestone in the time initially proposed.

Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

8- Farmers will give input on the economic analysis. Discuss advantages and disadvantages of the possible tests in a meeting with the project participants. Provide open ended questions to the participants. Start in May 2022.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
30
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
October 31, 2022
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #8 has not been reached.

Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

9- Farmers will be participating in a Survey about choice of soil health practices, value of testing, and perceived returns on investment. Produce a report and analysis of survey responses.
Start in Oct 2022.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
50
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
December 30, 2022
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #9 has not been reached.

Milestone #10 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

10- New farmers will be recruited as new adopters. Use the videos and other educational materials developed by the project in the recruiting process. Survey the new group of adopters.
Start in February 2023.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
100
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
September 29, 2023
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #10 has not been reached.

Milestone #11 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

11- Farmers will continue to participate in the development of improved diagnostic tests and more appropriate educational materials. Seek for continuing funding and collaborators.
Start in May 2023.

Proposed number of farmer beneficiaries who will participate:
100
Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
1
Proposed Completion Date:
February 29, 2024
Status:
In Progress
Accomplishments:

Milestone #11 has not been reached.

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

Educational activities:

1 Consultations
1 Journal articles
1 Other educational activities: Field sampling tests were performed at the WVU University Organic Certified Farm.

Participation Summary:

1 Farmers participated
1 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities

Learning Outcomes

Key areas in which farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitude, skills and/or awareness:

We have not collected enough verifiable information to complete this task. 

Our project has not reached the phase to provide the data requested.

Performance Target Outcomes

Target #1

Target: number of farmers:
200
Target: change/adoption:

By the end of the project the farmers will adopt laboratory soil health measures as a basis for implementation of sustainable conservation management practices.

Target: amount of production affected:

25/year high tunnels and 1000 acres of grassland per year

Target: quantified benefit(s):

A 20% improvement in at least one soil health indicator for those that adopt the New WV Appalachian Soil Health and implement recommended sustainable conservation/management practices.

Actual: change/adoption:

Our project has not reached the phase to provide the data requested.

Actual: amount of production affected:

Our project has not reached the phase to provide the data requested.

Actual: quantified benefit(s):

Our project has not reached the phase to provide the data requested.

Performance Target Outcome Narrative:

Our project has not reached the phase to provide the data requested.

Additional Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes:

We have not collected enough verifiable information to complete this task. 

Success stories:

We have not collected enough verifiable information to complete this task. 

Assessment of Project Approach and Areas of Further Study:

We have not collected enough verifiable information to complete this task. 

Participants

No participants

Information Products

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.