The Soil Quality Network

2011 Annual Report for EW11-021

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2011: $56,992.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Teresa Matteson
Benton Soil and Water Conservation District

The Soil Quality Network


Soil Quality Network 2012 is the first of two workshops planned for agricultural professionals and land managers. Workshop participants will gain an appreciation for the role soil quality plays in crop productivity and the viability of agriculture operations. The workshop will help agriculture consultants and planners develop strategies and actions to support farmers interested in improving soil quality. We are in the planning process for the Soil Quality Network (SQN) 2012. Here is the link for the registration site hosted by the Soil and Water Conservation Society:

Objectives/Performance Targets

Activities and Methods – With Western SARE funding, we will continue to execute the following three Soil Quality Network activities:
(1) Host two Western Region workshops for the agricultural professional audience – SQN 2012 and SQN 2013. These workshops will engage participants through presentations on successful soil quality projects and field tours. During both workshops, small work group sessions will help participants develop strategies to visualize and implement their local soil quality programs. Small groups will discuss partnership building, working with farmers, and the documentation of efforts and results. SQN 2012 will introduce soil quality assessment tools, such as the Soil Quality Project assessment package, the NRCS Soil Quality Test Kit, and Soil Quality Cards to build knowledge and skills that help farmers understand and recognize agricultural impacts on soil; explore the opportunities and barriers related to the implementation of SQ improvement practices; visit success story farms; and help participants develop strategies to visualize and implement their local soil quality programs.
(2) Develop a database to rate soil samples, document changes in soil management, track participation in federal, state and local soil quality incentive programs, monitor management impacts on soil quality, and support future demonstration projects and research.
(3) Create a basic website to make soil quality information globally available. This tool will be a central bulletin board for resources, models, research, and programs that support soil quality practices on the ground.


Activities and Methods – With Western SARE funding, we have:
(1) Hired Amy Garrett, Oregon State University Extension Service, as Project Manager (PM). The PM will orchestrate the efforts of multiple participants, facilitate the workshops, attend tabling events, serve as the contact person for the regional soil quality movement and write Soil Quality Network reports.
(2) Recruited the following list of SQN 2012 sponsors: Benton Soil and Water Conservation District, Oregon State University Extension Service, Soil and Water Conservation Society – Oregon Branch, Oregon Society of Soil Scientists, Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District.
(3) Convened a ten-person SQN 2012 planning committee to participate in twelve weekly teleconferences prior to the workshop.
(4) Contracted with Portland, Oregon Lloyd Center DoubleTree as the SQN 2012 venue.
(5) Reserved two buses through Blue Star Transportation for our field tours.
Arranged two SQN 2012 field tours at Dancing Roots Farm and McMenamins Edgefield, both in Troutdale, Oregon. Contracted with McMenamins Edgefield to serve tour lunch.
(6) Advertised SQN 2012 through hard copy and electronic publications (Take Root Willamette Valley, Oregon Society of Soil Scientists’ Sharpshooter, Soil and Water Conservation Soceity Conservogram, and Benton Soil and Water Conservation District’s Horizons), and the listservs and websites of sponsors and associates.
(7) Launched the SQN 2012 registration website through the Soil and Water Conservation Society ( and have started registration. SQN 2012 will be held February 23 and 24, 2012 at the Doubletree in Portland, Oregon.
(8) Booked more than 20 speakers for presentations during the SQN 2012 Farm Tour, Crop Mingle, Soil Assessment, and Soil Building breakout sessions with 5 of those highlighting previously funded Western SARE projects.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

The SQN 2012 planning activities have stirred up interest and inspired conversations around the relationship of soil quality to a range of topics from cropping systems to ecosystem markets.

Join the Soil Quality Network – it is a movement!


James Cassidy
Faculty Instructor
Oregon State University
3075 Agriculture and Life Science Building
Corvallis, OR 97331-7306
Office Phone: 5417376810
Joshua Owens
Oregon Society of Soil Scientists
PO Box 2382
Corvallis, OR 97339
Office Phone: 5037804912
Russ Hatz
National Technology Specialist
NRCS West National Technical Support Center
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd., Suite 1000
Portland, OR 97232
Office Phone: 5032732428
Jim Smith
District Coordinator
Tiicham Conservation District
46411 Timine Way
Pendleton, OR 97801
Office Phone: 5412767784
Chad McGrath
Soil Scientist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd.
Suite 900
Portland, OR 97323
Office Phone: 5034143003
William White
Oregon State Resource Conservationist
Natural Resources Conservation Service
1201 NE Lloyd Blvd.
Suite 900
Portland, OR 97232
Office Phone: 5034143085
Jerry Nicolescu
Executive Director
Oregon Association of Conservation Districts
737 13th Street SE,
Salem, OR 97301
Office Phone: 5035669157
Amy Garrett
Project Manager
Extension Small Farms Faculty, Oregon State University
1849 NW 9th Street
Corvallis, OR 97330
Office Phone: 5417663551