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2018-2019 AFT Soil Health Specialist Training

Welcome to the 2018-2019 Soil Health Specialist Training Page!

The Practical Soil Health Specialist Training Program is a NE-SARE funded project of the American Farmland Trust. Project collaborators include the Cornell Soil Health Program, Cornell University, NRCS, New York Department of Ag and Markets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell Small Farms Program, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, agri-businesses, and farmers.

This is a 3-year program for 20 agricultural service professionals across New York State. The goal is to establish a network of Practical Soil Health professionals to support and educate farmers to improve soil health on their land. Specialist trainees get an in-depth understanding of what soil health is, how it can be measured and monitored over time, and how soil health can be improved through holistic, adaptive, and data-driven soil management. The training is a series of five, two-day workshops with associated field days. Two workshops have already occurred on“Soil Health Principles” and “Cover Crops and Cropping Systems”. The third workshop will focus on Adaptive Nutrient Management. In addition to presentation materials, we have posted project resources to serve as a template for the development of future soil health specialist trainings.

Workshop 1-Soil Health Principles:

01 Introduction to Soil Health

02 Principles and Benefits of Building Healthy Soils

03 Soil Biota and Their Impact on Soil Health

04 Ecological Nutrient Management

05 Quantifying Soil Health

06 Soil Health Management Framework and Planning Process

07 Soil Health Management Scenarios

Project Resources for Workshop 1:

Project Orientation Packet

Participant and Speaker Bios

CASH Report from Farm Visit

Workshop 2-Cropping Systems and Cover Crops:

01 Cover Crop Root Traits

02 Double Cropping with Winter Cereals and Silage Crops

03 Cover Crops in Organic Systems

04 Addressing Soil Health Metrics through Cover Crops

05 Cover Crop Management Scenarios

06 Economic Impacts of Cover Crops on New York Farms

07 Cover Crops and Zone-Till in Organic Vegetables

08 Soil Health Management Effects On CASH Indicators

09 Nitrogen Credits from Cover Crops

Project Resources for Workshop 2:

Project Packet

Speaker and Farmer Bios


References for Practical Soil Specialist Training

Contact Information:

Aaron Ristow, New York Agricultural Stewardship Manager,
Joseph Amsili, Program Coordinator for Cornell Soil Health Lab,


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