- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: decision support system, demonstration, extension, mentoring, networking, workshop
- Farm Business Management: whole farm planning
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture, transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: organic matter, soil analysis, nutrient mineralization, soil chemistry, soil physics, soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
In the fall of 2011, the Benton Soil and Water Conservation District received funding from USDA Western SARE to establish the Soil Quality Network (SQN). These components were implemented to support on-the-ground soil quality improvement: (1) two workshops to train agricultural professionals, SQN 2012 and SQN 2013; (2) a database that is connected to an interactive SQN Map that showcases global soil quality efforts including: in-field practices, research, assessment, technical and financial assistance, and more; (3) the SQN website serves as a central hub for communication and resource distribution, and (4) evaluation of this project via workshop questionnaires, email surveys, and telephone interviews with participants. SQN provides agricultural professionals and farmers with access to soil quality resources including: assessment tool information, models for various aspects of program development, soil quality related research, and lessons learned from programs that promote soil quality.
A total of 152 participants attended the two workshops; 24% of the participants (37) attended both events. The SQN Participant Demographics Summary shows a complete breakdown of attendee affiliations.
Project objectives:div style="margin-left:1em;">
- Host a Soil Quality Network workshop in 2012 and another in 2013. Each two-day workshop will include field demonstrations and formal presentations.
- Build a SQN website. The SQN website is hosted on the OSU Small Farms website and features workshops (past and upcoming), a library of presentations, soil quality resources, and the SQN Map.
- Build a SQN database. The database showcases soil quality efforts such as in-field practices, research, assessment, technical and financial assistance, and more.
- Evaluate project. Post event questionnaires, email surveys, telephone interviews, and farmer pre- and post interviews were conducted to guide future programmatic planning.