Sharing the Wealth of Cover Crops: Improved cover crop and soil health knowledge sharing and networking

Project Overview

ES18-144
Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $79,091.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Grant Recipient: Virginia Tech
Region: Southern
State: Virginia
Principal Investigator:
Wade Thomason
Virginia Tech

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: cover crops
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, networking, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    Virginia is home to a strong cadre of influencers who are very enthusiastic about cover crops. These "cover crop champions" conduct outreach throughout the state and include leading farmers as well as personnel from VA Cooperative Extension, NRCS, and other agencies and agribusinesses. Some of our most influential cover crop champions serve dual roles as agency personnel and farmers.

    We see significant opportunity for improving coordination, communication and connectivity between our cover crop champions across Virginia. Most champions operate as individuals, conducting outreach activities and field demonstrations without much coordination with peers, especially those from other agencies or regions. These Virginia cover crop champions are a prime example of a SARE PDP train-the-trainer audience; they are the first-tier target audience for this project.

    We propose to establish an advanced train-the-trainer program and communication network that will enhance the connectivity and effectiveness of our existing cover crop champions/trainers; help recruit additional cover crop champions/trainers; and accelerate the transfer of cover crop information and inspiration from our trainer cadre of Virginia farmers who are the ultimate target audience for this project.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The key objective of this project is to develop a core educational and information-sharing network of individuals and organizations who will serve as a focused group and network for guiding cover crop educational programming, outreach and additional research and demonstration; and participate as the core group of cover crop "expert" trainees and mentors over the two years of this project.

    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.