Organic Soil Health Education Resources for Agricultural Professionals in the Western Region

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2018: $74,138.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2019
Grant Recipient: Organic Farming Research Foundation
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Brise Tencer
Organic Farming Research Foundation


Not commodity specific


  • Crop Production: cover crops, crop improvement and selection, cropping systems, crop rotation, double cropping, drought tolerance, fertilizers, foliar feeding, high tunnels or hoop houses, intercropping, irrigation, low tunnels, no-till, nutrient cycling, nutrient management, organic fertilizers, plant breeding and genetics, pollination, pollinator habitat, row covers (for season extension), tissue analysis, varieties and cultivars, water management
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, technical assistance
  • Energy: energy conservation/efficiency
  • Farm Business Management: business planning, risk management, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, carbon sequestration, drift/runoff buffers, habitat enhancement, hedgerows, indicators, soil stabilization, wetlands, wildlife
  • Pest Management: biological control, botanical pesticides, cultivation, cultural control, disease vectors, mulches - general
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture, organic certification, transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: composting, green manures, nutrient mineralization, organic matter, soil analysis, soil chemistry, soil microbiology, soil physics, soil quality/health
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures, values-based supply chains

    Proposal abstract:

    Through a series of educational webinars and other outreach materials, this project proposed by
    the Organic Research Foundation (OFRF) will enhance the knowledge of agricultural advisors,
    Cooperative Extension, NRCS, agency, crop consultants, and other agricultural professionals
    who work with farmers and ranchers on the benefits of organic agriculture and sustainable soil
    management practices. These benefits include healthier soils, cleaner water, fewer pests, fewer
    pollutants for farmworkers and consumers, and an increased biodiversity in our agricultural
    In 2015, OFRF surveyed organic farmers and found a need for knowledgeable extension and
    education services related to organic soil health, biology, and nutrient cycling. In 2017, OFRF
    published a series of guides on soil health and organic farming for organic and transitional
    farmers. In this proposed project, the information from the soil health guides will be presented to
    agricultural professionals via eOrganic webinars, to use as educational tools for increasing
    sustainable soil health practices.
    This dissemination project will increase the adoption and application of best practices for soil
    health in practical and accessible formats online, so that agricultural professionals will be able to
    learn about, implement, share or teach these practices, and/or use these resources in the
    subsequent educational activities in sustainable agriculture. Success will be based on the number
    of participants, participant evaluations, and the percentage of participants who say they will
    incorporate the practices into their work and recommend to farmers. These activities will
    improve the ability of agricultural professionals to conduct educational programs and activities in
    sustainable agriculture principles, and provide access to resources that help producers make
    informed decisions about sustainable approaches with greater certainty and less risk.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The objectives are to 1) provide this soil health information in practical and accessible formats
    online, so that agricultural professionals will be able to learn about, implement, share or teach
    these practices, and/ or use these new knowledge and skills in the subsequent educational
    activities in sustainable agriculture, 2) increase understanding of the impacts of organic practices
    on soil biology and biodiversity, soil-crop nutrient dynamics, soil organic matter, carbon
    sequestration, soil water dynamics, 3) increase the understanding of the research needs of
    organic farmers across the U.S. 4) increase use of the scientific research resources available via

    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.