Soil Health Resources
NACD Soil Health Webinars: Your Tool for Outreach
With the establishment of the NACD Soil Health Champions Network, NACD started conducting monthly webinars this past fall to assist in further education and outreach. Each month, topics include various components of soil health such as exploring the soil ecosystem of beneficial insects and invertebrates, nutrient management and soil biology, companion and cover crops, the incorporation and impacts of grazing, as well as current and on-going research. Speakers include NACD Soil Health Champions and experts in cooperating organizations and members of the USDA NRCS Soil Health Specialists Team. While the live webinars are promoted within the network, each webinar is recorded and available online for the general public to utilize as a way to further soil health education and encourage more acres to be managed for soil health.
To view the soil health webinars to date, please be sure to visit the NACD Soil Health Champions Network webpage and contact Beth Mason with any suggested topics and speakers for future webinars.
ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture Program
Be sure to visit the ATTRA website for some great resources on soil health. ATTRA is a program developed and managed by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) which is a non-profit organization established in 1976. Some of their resources are available online for free, while others are available for purchase.
The target audience for their resources includes farmers, ranchers, market gardeners, Extension agents, researchers, educators, farm organizations, and others involved in agriculture. Topics include:
ATTRA has multiple newsletters you can subscribe to for free. “The Weekly Harvest” is published every Wednesday – a web digest of sustainable agriculture news, resources, events and funding opportunities. “The Dirt News” is a collection of newsletters focused on specific regions to spotlight local staff work and regional agriculture issues.
Our Farms, Our Future Podcast Series: Voices in Sustainable Agriculture
From coast to coast, a diverse community of farmers, ranchers, scientists and educators are working to shape a sustainable future for our food system. Listen to the new Our Farms, Our Future podcast series and join this community for intimate conversations about the state of agriculture, how we got here and where we’re headed.
Episode 1 was released on Monday, April 9 and features Missouri farmers and neighbors Emily Wright and Dan Kuebler. They touch on what motivates them to be farmers and discuss how to build resilient farming systems, the ways local food systems can foster community, and offer advice to beginning farmers.
“One of the things I love most about farming is the learning curve,” Wright said. “It’s a complex ecological system and you can never account for all the variables that are part of that system. So really the learning curve never drops off, and for me there’s never a dull moment.”
The Our Farms, Our Future podcast series will feature a new episode every two weeks for up to 25 weeks. It will bring together a wide variety of farmers, ranchers and other folks interested in the sustainable agriculture community to discuss such topics as federal policy, soil health, the role of business in sustainable food systems, water issues, climate challenges, women in agriculture, issues and opportunities for minorities and much more.
Episode 2 will feature Greg Judy, a veteran pasture-based livestock farmer, and Adam Saunders, founder of the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture in Columbia, Mo.
You can follow this series at www.sare.org/OFOFpodcast or by subscribing on iTunes or Stitcher.
Recap: The National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health
This past December, the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) held the second National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Indianapolis. There was a great variety of sessions and many opportunities to network with other folks interested in cover crops and soil health. A small group of the NACD Soil Health Champions Network met for dinner the night before the conference, providing an opportunity for one-on-one conversations in a relaxed atmosphere.
Some Soil Health Champions attended the conference as participants, exhibitors, guest presenters and panelists. Beth Mason represented NACD as an exhibitor and shared information about the NACD Soil Health Champions Network and the Soil Health Case Studies NACD conducted with Datu Research to conference attendees.
If you missed the conference or even if you attended and wanted to go back and see some of the presentations, the SWCS has recently posted those videos online along with PDFs of the PowerPoint presentations. See if you can spot some familiar faces in the lineup!