From Classroom to the Field: Advanced Soil Health Training for New York Agricultural Service Providers

Project Overview

ENE18-153
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $145,305.00
Projected End Date: 08/28/2021
Grant Recipient: American Farmland Trust
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Aaron Ristow
American Farmland Trust

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: application rate management, alley cropping, catch crops, conservation tillage, continuous cropping, contour farming, cover crops, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, drainage systems, drought tolerance, fallow, fertigation, fertilizers, greenhouses, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, irrigation, low tunnels, multiple cropping, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, relay cropping, ridge tillage, strip tillage, water management, water storage, zone till
  • Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, networking, technical assistance, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Natural Resources/Environment: carbon sequestration, indicators, soil stabilization, strip cropping
  • Pest Management: mulches - general
  • Production Systems: holistic management, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, earthworms, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil quality/health, toxic status mitigation

    Proposal abstract:

    PROBLEM AND JUSTIFICATION:Research shows, fully-functioning soils offer substantial benefits as they are resilient to weather extremes, maximize water and nutrient storage, and increase
    profitability through decreased input and increased yields. New York Farmers struggle with integrating cover crops, reduced tillage or no-till, composting or other soil health practices into their management systems. This is particularly true for dairy farmers, with limited available time for crop management, and vegetable farmers looking to maximize production throughout the growing season.

    SOLUTION AND APPROACH:

    A 2014 cover crop survey of NY farmers indicated more technical experts are needed to assist farmers with soil health assessment and implementation of practices addressing soil constraints and perceived barriers. To motivate farmers to implement practices they need, an
    advanced understanding of soil health practices, especially soil biology and the economic implications for adoption is required.

    PERFORMANCE TARGET: Twenty (20) agricultural service providers trained in advanced soil health principles and practical methods for using crop rotations, cover crops, reduced tillage, nutrient management and other practices on diverse farms across New York will teach 400 farmers operating 80,000 acres about soil health techniques and how to successfully integrate them into their production systems.

    Fifty (50) farmers informed by our beneficiaries will conduct a soil health assessment, develop a soil health plan, or implement a soil health practice such as cover cropping, reducing tillage, crop rotation, and/or nutrientmanagement trial or demonstration.

    Performance targets from proposal:

    Performance Target for Service Providers

    Twenty (20) agricultural service providers trained in advanced soil health principles and practical methods for using crop rotations, cover crops, reduced tillage, nutrient management and other practices on diverse farms across New York will teach 400 farmers operating 80,000 acres about soil health techniques and how to successfully integrate them into their production systems.

    Performance Target for Farmers

    Fifty (50) farmers informed by our beneficiaries will conduct a soil health assessment, develop a soil health plan, or implement a soil health practice such as cover cropping, reducing tillage, crop rotation, and/or nutrient management trial or demonstration.

     

    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.