Advanced Soil Health Training

ADDRESSES EDUCATION, TECHNICAL, AND COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT

The use of cover crops, reduced tillage and improved nutrient management requires a system change supported by science, local research and knowledgeable technical advisors. There is a tremendous need in Illinois to increase the number of farmers, retailers, CCAs, and conservation practitioners who better understand the science of soil health and the interrelated set of production management changes required to transition to this new system.

"Technical assistance providers currently lack in-depth knowledge on soil health practices"

Based on American Farmland Trust’s successful completion of a first round of 22 Advanced Soil Health Training graduates, this intensive training model will be expanded to provide six two-day sessions over 18 months to additional cadres of conservation practitioners and farmer advisers. Topics will include soil structure, chemistry, and biology; cover crop selection, management, and termination; planting and tillage equipment; field day demonstrations training; along with communication and outreach strategies. The next group will be focused in the Upper Sangamon River Watershed, where the 1st class is scheduled for the Spring of 2018. The new graduates from this train-the-trainer program will continue to expand the impact by hosting field days and educational sessions for farmers and other local practitioners as well as working with farmers one-on-one through the 5-year Transition Program.

Interested in learning more about this program? Check out these new Soil Health Training Videos produced by the Illinois Stewardship Alliance. These videos are a collection of all the great soil health trainings organized and implemented by several ISAP partners in 2017.

 

Listen to some testimonials from our previous Soil Health Specialist Graduates

Dean served as an Animal Systems Educator for 34 years with University of Illinois Extension, and currently serves as a forage/grazing specialist with Midwest Grass and Forage in addition to serving as an ISAP Soil Health Specialist. He is the owner operator of the Oswald Family Farm in Kewanee, IL.

Joe Rothermel's (Champaign County farmer and Chairman of the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District) father was a conventional farmer most of his life, but in 1992, he tried no-till planting. In order to learn more than what dad was teaching him, Joe began attending local and regional ag meetings. Hearing directly from researchers, professionals, and other farmers, Joe continued to learn more in order to satisfy his natural curiosity.

Jonathon Manuel (Resource Conservationist at Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District) specializes in soil health. By attending these series of workshops, Joe gained more than he thought he would gain.

John Pike served as a Research Agronomist for the U of I at Dixon Springs Research station, focusing on nutrient management, soil fertility, and cover crops. He served as an Extension Educator in Agriculture and Natural Resources.