CORTLAND, N.Y. — At the request of four regional agricultural stakeholders, New York’s solar-powered soil health education trailer will visit farms in Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut to offer five free programs from June 20 through June 24, 2022. Attendees at the Southern New England Soil Health Trailer Tour programs will see demonstrations and learn how to regenerate soil to its natural functions for agricultural crop and livestock grazing success. Northeast SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education), the University of Massachusetts Extension, Rhode Island Farm Bureau, and the American Farmland Trust are sponsoring this soil health educational programming.
“Understanding the many components of soil health is helping farms of all types be more resilient, adaptable to changing needs and weather conditions, and economically sustainable,” said New York Grazinglands Coalition Soil Health Trailer Coordinator Fay Benson with the South Central New York Dairy and Field Crops Team, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cortland County, New York.
Benson explains, “The way my father and the way I used to farm was to test the soil for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and pH. If they were in range, we were good to go. Research by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and others has shown that farms were losing a lot of topsoil and that, in addition to monitoring the chemical makeup of soil, farmers need to pay attention to the physical and biological components as well.”
Among the demonstration features of the New York Grazinglands Coalition Soil Health Trailer is the a six-foot-tall rain simulator that illustrates how well or how poorly soils retain rainwater. A soil samples table visually shows how different types of soils and soils planted with cover crops are or are not able to maintain structure to resist erosion.
“This soil health trailer allows people to see how soil works in real-time with a ‘seeing is believing’ impact. Soil health education is increasingly in demand, and we are pleased to share the New York Grazinglands Coalition Soil Health Trailer resources with our New England farm neighbors,” said Benson.
Benson has recently conducted SARE-funded research to develop a ratio tool for computing soil compaction on pasturelands and to monitor pasture management improvement success over time.
Southern New England Soil Health Trailer Tour Schedule
Pre-registration is required for each location on the Southern New England Soil Health Trailer Tour as follows or online at https://forms.gle/
June 20: Vernon, Vermont
The Southern New England Soil Health Trailer Tour will begin on Monday, June 20, 2022, with a program hosted by the American Farmland Trust at Miller Farm, 1732 Fort Bridgman Road, Vernon, Vermont. This program will focus on grazing and pasture soil health for dairy farms. For more information and registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 21-22: South Deerfield and Dudley, Massachusetts
The UMass Crop and Animal Research and Education Farm, 89 River Road, in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, will host a general soil health field day with a mix of tips for vegetable and corn growers and pasturing enterprises at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. For more information and registration, contact email@example.com.
On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, American Farmland Trust will host a 1:00 p.m. program at Walnut Lane Farm, 33 Koebke Road, Dudley, Massachusetts, with an emphasis on soil health for pasturing and grazing livestock and poultry. For more information and registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 23: Jamestown, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Farm Bureau will welcome program attendees at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 23, 2022, at Windmist Farm, 71 Weeden Land, Jamestown, Rhode Island. This program will focus on soil health for optimal grazing and pasturing management. For more information and registration, contact email@example.com.
June 24, Somers, Connecticut
The Southern New England Soil Health Trailer Tour wraps up on Friday, June 24, 2022, with a 9:30 a.m. program hosted by Tri-State SARE at Scantic Valley Farm, 327 9th District Road in Somers, Connecticut, with a focus on grazing and pasture for beef enterprises. For more information and registration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New York Grazinglands Soil Health Trailer is funded through the New York office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cornell Soil Health Lab Director Robert Schindelbeck and Cornell Soil Health Program Extension Educator Joseph Amsili provide materials and educational support. Fay Benson can be reached at Cornell Cooperative Extension Cortland County, 607-391-2660 ext. 410, email@example.com.
–New York Grazinglands Coalition