A video on sustainable tillage practices for vegetable farms

2006 Annual Report for ENE06-097

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2006: $99,504.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2008
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $14,229.00
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
Project Leader:
Dr. Vern Grubinger
University of Vermont

A video on sustainable tillage practices for vegetable farms


This project aims to capture a range of sustainable tillage practices that promote soil health on vegetable farms. The practices represent alternatives to widely-used aggressive tillage tools such as rotovators, heavy disks, and/or plows. The intent is to develop an educational video that will assist agricultural service providers with promoting alternative tillage tools and strategies, the benefits they offer, and how to best use them.

Over the 2006 growing season 9 farms in 5 northeastern states were visited to film farmers and researchers demonstrating and explaining sustainable tillage practices. Topics covered included: introduction to sustainable tillage, soil spader, no-till mulch system, chisel plow plus field cultivator, conventional no-till, zone-till research, zone-till on the farm, ridge-till research, ridge-till on the farm.

The video is currently being edited and the final version will be available in spring 2007.

Objectives/Performance Targets

Of the 400 agricultural service providers that receive the sustainable tillage video, 200 will use it in their programs, reaching at least 2,000 farmers.


In early spring of 2006, a handful of beneficiaries were contacted by e-mail and phone to help identify vegetable farmers and extension/research specialists with useful knowledge and information to share about sustainable tillage practices. Then, the following farmers and specialists representing a range of practices, states, and production systems were asked, and agreed, to participate in the video.

Jay and Polly Armour
Four Winds Farm
Gardiner, NY

George Ayres
FreshAyr Farm
Shortsville NY

Erik Buzby
AT Buzby Farm
Woodstown NJ

Jean-Paul Cortens and Jody Bolluyt
Roxbury Farm
Kinderhook, NY

David Marchant
River Berry Farm
Fairfax VT

Dr. Charles Mohler
Dept. Crop and Soil Sciences
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Eric and Anne Nordell
Beech Grove Farm
Trout Run, PA

Edward Person

Ledgewood Farm
Moultonboro NH

Dr. Anu Rangaranjan
Dept. Horticulture
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

Dr. Harold van Es
Dept. Crop and Soil Sciences
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY

A half-day was spent on location at each of the farms, filming the people, the equipment, and the practices. A transcript of all the useful/usable statements made during the filming was developed, and from these selections were made and put in a sequence to form the audio portion of the final product. During winter 2006-2007, video portions of the video will be selected and edited to fit the audio statements. A draft video will be available for advisors to review prior to production of a 45-minute broadcast-quality video.

In spring of 2007, the availability and content of the video will be promoted to the target beneficiary groups using list-serves, E-mail to SARE-PDP state and regional coordinators, Extension, NRCS, commodity association leaders and non-profit colleagues. A web site will be set up to facilitate ordering and distribution.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

By spring of 2008 the goal is to have distributed the video free-of-charge to 400 agricultural service providers. (If you are in this category and would like to be notified of video availability please e-mail me at [email protected])