The university offers soil health and regenerative agriculture workshops and programs

As water continues to be a scarce resource and food security concerns are growing, agricultural producers need to ensure that they are maintaining healthy soils to maximize quality crop production. To help growers, the University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering an online weekly series of seven workshops on understanding and managing soil health Aug. 30 – Oct. 11, as well as an in-person day of presentations and tours in Fallon in September. 30, “Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture for the Carson River Watershed.”

“Healthy soil is the key to successful crop production,” says Maninder K. Walia, extension assistant professor and field crop specialist, who puts together the online series of workshops and will also attend the September 30 in-person event, said. “By knowing the structure of your soil, how soil works, and ways to manage soil to promote short-term and long-term soil health, growers can prevent many problems and make their jobs easier as well as make their harvests more. Bountiful.”

Online weekly series of workshops

This series of classes, part of Extension’s Alternative Crop Program, will be conducted via Zoom on Tuesdays, 10 – 11 a.m., August 30 – October 11. Presenters include faculty and researchers from the university’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources. Its extension unit, as well as the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nevada Division of Environmental Conservation and specialists in Full Circle Compost. Workshops are free, but registration is required for each event. Workshops include:

  • Soil propertiesAugust 30, Presented by Walia.
  • Importance of soil nutrientsCompost and Fertilizers with Application Rate Calculations, September 6, presented by Cody Witt, Full Circle Compost.
  • Increasing C Sequestration in Soil: Can Biochar Help?, September 13, presented by Paul Verburg; Associate Professor of Soil Science; University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Soil health and water connectivitySeptember 20, Presented by Chuck Schembre, Environmental Scientist, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
  • Regenerative Ag and Soil Health PrincipalsSeptember 27, Marlon Winger, Regional Soil Health Specialist (Idaho, Wyoming and Montana), presented by the USDA NRCS Soil Health Division.
  • Winter annual cropping systems: lessons learned after two years of evaluation in Nevada, October 4, presented by Juan Solomon; Associate Professor of Agricultural Sciences; University of Nevada, Reno.
  • The Basics of Composting, October 11, presented by Ellen Fagin; Community Horticulture Education Program; University of Nevada, Reno Extension.

Those who register for a workshop will be emailed a Zoom link for that workshop. For more information, contact Linda Brown.

An individual day of presentations and tours, “Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture for the Carson River Watershed”

Part of the Extension’s Nevada Herds and Harvest program, the event will be held Sept. 30 at Western States Hemp/Rambling River Ranches, 7491 Reno Highway Fallon. Workshops and field trips will focus on the principles of soil health and regenerative agriculture, and how these practices can improve the sustainability and economy of farms and ranches, while improving and enhancing the water quality of rivers and streams.

Local growers and soil health experts from Extension and other agencies will provide insights and visit fields under regenerative agriculture practices. There will be demonstrations with equipment, and soil pit digging, which allows the determination of the entire spectrum of soil properties. Sessions include:

  • Introduction and Workshop Overview/Objectives, presented by Chuck Schembre, Environmental Scientist, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection – Bureau of Water Quality Planning; and Joe Frey, owner, farmer and workshop host.
  • Soil Health BasicsPresented by Jim Comar, Nevada State Soil Scientist, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • Soil and water connectionPresented by Chuck Schembre, NDEP – Bureau of Water Quality Planning, Environmental Scientist.
  • Cover crops for building soil health in Nevada, presented by Walia, ext.; and Christopher Bernau, Great Basin Plant Materials Center.
  • Producer Perspectives: Soil Health Management Practices, presented by Frey, on the economics of reincarnation practice; and Tim Coverston, Carson Valley grower, on diversified cover crops, alfalfa, crop diversity and soil health fundamentals.
  • An introduction to the Carson Water Subconservancy District, the Carson River Alliance Ag Working Group and our on-farm pilot projects.Presented by Brenda Hunt and Shane Fryer, Watershed Program Manager and Program Specialist, respectively, with the District.
  • Demonstration of mud rain simulatorPresented by NRCS Regional Soil Health Specialist, Zahahgir Kabir.
  • Rambling River Ranch tour and equipment demonstration, led by Frey. Participants will look at multiple areas under regenerative ag and soil health management systems, including silage corn, alfalfa, hemp and rotational grazing systems. Field observations and discussions will include no-till practices, roller creeping, winter cover crops, weed problems and management, adaptive grazing, adding diversity to alfalfa, farm river corridor improvements, and more. There will also be earth pit digging and soil science education.

The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with check-in starting at 8:30 a.m. and lunch by the Wild Horse Cafe at 12:15 p.m. The registration fee is $20 and includes lunch. For more information about this program, contact Staci Emm, Extension Educator, program organizer.

Extension’s Herd and Harvest Program provides year-round education and guidance to support Nevada agricultural producers. The event is hosted by the Carson River Alliance, Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Program and Rambling River Ranch; In collaboration with local producers; Carson Water Subconservation District; University of Nevada, Reno Extension; Natural Resources Conservation Service; local conservation districts; Nevada Division of Environmental Protection; and Western Mantle Crops Council – Southwest Regional Committee. This program was funded by the USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and was supported by the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Grant # 2020-49400-32321.

Individuals requiring special accommodations or assistance for an online workshop or in-person program should contact Paul Lessick, Extension Civil Rights and Compliance Coordinator, at least five days prior to the scheduled program with their needs or additional information.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.