ALBANY — New York Soil Health has announced the selection of 23 participants for the 2020-2021 Practical Soil Health Specialist Program, to train private and public agricultural service providers working with farmers and farmland owners to promote healthy soil.
The one-year program is coordinated through a collaboration between New York Soil Health and American Farmland Trust. This training builds off of the first NESARE-funded Practical Soil Health Specialist Training Program that ran from 2018-2020. The series of workshops and field visits aims to strengthen the network of agricultural professionals across New York State who can assist farmers in making real-world decisions to enhance the health of their soil.
Here’s what some quotes from the 2018-2020 cohort of specialists:
“What a gem!”. I look forward to applying what I have learned from these workshops and the resources they have provided. Personally, I find it astounding. Coming from the background I have, and with what I am learning, I see many opportunities.”
“Seeing the different plants, with their root structures really helped me. I feel a lot more confident in advising growers on cover crops.”
“The trainings have made myself more aware of the benefits of no-till, cover crops… and in return I am more comfortable talking to producers about trying more cover crops and no-till practices.”
The Practical Soil Health Specialists will receive in-depth training in the classroom and in the field on topics ranging from soil biology and soil physics to cover cropping and strategies to reduce and eliminate tillage. Upon completion of the training, participants have committed to assisting with a soil health workshop in their area or providing technical assistance on soil health related management planning.
“Practical Soil Health Specialist” participants for the 2020-2021 Training include:
- Corrina Aldrich, District Manager, Washington County SWCD
- Briana Alfaro, Outreach Coordinator, NOFA-NY
- Amanda Barber, District Manager, Cortland County SWCD
- Liz Camps, District Conservationist, USDA
- Miranda Ciardulli, Soil Conservationist, USDA-NRCS
- Jevonnah Foster, Conservation Technician, St. Lawrence County SWCD
- Mila Fournier, Ag Educator, CCE Tompkins County
- Jacob Fox, Chief Executive Officer, Closed Loop Systems LLC
- Paul Gier, Natural Resource Program Specialist, Tompkins County SWCD
- John Hill, Field Sales Representative, Bayer
- Samuel Joseph, Sustainability Program Director, St. Lawrence University
- Tim Lewis, Precision Agronomy Team Manager, Dairy One
- Garet Livermore, Executive Director, CCE Herkimer County
- Dave Magos, Owner, Star Farms
- Howard Miller, Conservation Technician, Rensselaer County SWCD
- Megan Myers, Conservation Technician, Rensselaer County SWCD
- Wilfred Nieves, Senior Land Steward, Open Space Institute
- Jennifer Phillips Russo, Viticulture Specialist, Cornell Lake Erie Regional Grape Program
- Matthew Rayo, Senior Project Manager, Naturcycle LLC
- Nick Rowell, Natural Resources Specialist, Warren County SWCD
- Jessica Sargis, Senior Environmental Planner, Agricultural Consulting Services
- Robert Stryker, District Manager, Livingston County SWCD
- Zachary Warning, Soil Scientist, USDA-NRCS
The 2020-2021 Practical Soil Health Specialist Training for New York Agricultural Service Providers is a project of New York Soil Health in close collaboration with American Farmland Trust, Cornell University, Cornell Soil Health Laboratory, Natural Resources Conservation Service, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell Small Farms Program, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, agri-businesses, and farmers. This training is funded by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund, which is administered by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and NE-SARE grant NEE18-153-32231, administered by American Farmland Trust.
The first NYS Soil Health Specialist Training Program (2018-2020) was funded through a grant from NE-SARE and led by American Farmland Trust in close collaboration with the above organizations.
Read more about the first cohort of NYS Soil Health Specialists: https://farmland.org/aft-graduates-16-practical-soil-health-specialists-to-support-regenerative-farming-practices-on-new-york-farms/
All learning resources from the first training are available at: http://blogs.cornell.edu/healthysoil/workshops/american-farmland-trust/
–New York Soil Health (http://newyorksoilhealth.org/)
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