Professional Training in Soil Quality
Objectives of this project included:
1) Train Extension and NRCS personnel, crop consultants, farmers and members of other agencies and agricultural groups in the fundamentals of soil quality/health, soil biology, soil tilth and organic matter/nutrient management.
2) Provide soil quality/health, soil biology, soil tilth and organic matter/nutrient management teaching materials and assessment tools for use by the above individuals and organizations in educational programs they conduct for farmers and other groups.
3) Train Extension, NRCS and other agency personnel to use soil quality/health assessment tools and learn effective methods of teaching the fundamentals of soil quality/health, soil biology, soil tilth and organic matter/nutrient management to farmers and other groups.
4) Develop partnerships between Extension, NRCS, farmers and farm organizations that will foster the success of this project and support future cooperative programs in sustainable agriculture.
This project provided teaching materials and assessment tools, along with training in their effective use, so that future educational efforts in the participants’ communities will encourage and assist farmers to make the transition from conventional to alternative management systems.
This “train-the-trainer” program featured three groups of in-service training workshops. The first workshops were an overview that focused on soil biology and organic matter, soil ecology, nutrient cycling and implications of these processes for soil management. The second workshops provided participants with skills, materials and tools to conduct informative and effective workshops for farmers and other landowners.
Teaching materials and soil assessment tools were developed for this program with the assistance and review of a farmer advisory committee. These assessment tools and copies of the educational materials were distributed to seven locations throughout the state for the use of anyone interested in promoting sound soil management practices.
The third workshop, conducted once during the period of this grant, provided hands-on field experience and training in using the USDA Soil Quality Test Kit for a group of NRCS and Extension personnel, crop consultants and farmers.