UACES Facebook Northwest Arkansas Specialty Crop Soil Health Program
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NWA Specialty Crop Soil Health Program


Logos for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Northwest Arkansas Specialty Crop Soil Health Program

Healthy soils promote efficient specialty crop production. Growers increasingly need tools to understand the status of soil health on their farms, and learn how the health of their soils can be improved. This led to the development of the Northwest Arkansas (NWA) Specialty Crop Soil Health program. The goal of the program is to increase the productivity and profitability of specialty crop farms in four Arkansas counties (Benton, Washington, Carroll, and Madison) by educating and training growers on implementing specific management practices that have been shown to improve on-farm soil health. In addition, participating growers will be provided with free comprehensive soil health testing to determine what practices might increase soil health most effectively for their farms.  The program is supported by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation.


Soil health workshop attendees standing in cover crop demo plots that had been roller crimped

2023 Soil Health Training Series

The 2023 Soil Health Training series will consist of four trainings throughout the year where participants will get the chance to see various demonstration practices that can be used to improve soil health. Topics range from cover crops, soil fertility, pollinator habitats, and irrigation management. There will also be opportunities to receive free books and handouts as well as a chance to win door prizes such as soil knives, cover crop seeds & MORE!

The final part in the series will be a fall farm tour in Northwest Arkansas hosted by Middle Fork Farm and Rivercrest Orchard. Attendees will learn more about their specialty crop production practices and effective soil management!

Register for Farm Tour Here


Cover crop grass growing inside of a high tunnel

Time: 1:00-4:00 PM

Topics :

  • Interpreting Your Soil Health
  • Soil Sampling Basics
  • Winter Cover Crop Demo
  • High Tunnel Cover Crop Demo



Aerial view of cover crop plots

Time: 3:00-6:00 PM

Topics :

  • Managing Soil Health & Fertility with Compost, Manure, and Cover Crops
  • Plant/Tray Inoculation Demo
  • Cover Crop Planting Demo
  • Winter Cover Crop Termination Demo
  • Soil Pest Management


Honeybeed sitting on a clover flower

Time: 3:00-6:00 PM

Topics :

  • Weed Management Strategies
  • Summer Cover Crop Selection
  • Irrigation Management & Water Conservation
  • Pollinator Habitat Demo
  • Biodegradable Mulches
  • Tips to Reduce Tillage Demo

Farm truck parked with a variety of pumpkins stacked in the bed and on the ground

Time: 9:00 AM-3:30 PM


  • Fall Farm Tour
  • Farms: Middle Fork Farm & Rivercrest Orchard
  • Specialty crop production practices
  • Soil management
  • & MORE




Check out highlights from our workshops below! 


Part One (March 14, 2023):

2023 NWA Soil Health Workshop Series: Part One


Part Two (May 2, 2023): 

2023 NWA Soil Health Workshop Series: Part Two


Part Three (June 27, 2023):

2023 NWA Soil Health Workshop Series: Part Three

Program Goals

  • Develop an increased understanding of sustainable management strategies utilized by specialty crop growers
  • Train specialty crop growers on implementing specific strategies to improve soil health
  • Quantify soil health outcomes based on strategies utilized across NWA


Program Leads

Matt Bertucci

Dr. Matt Bertucci

Assist. Professor-Sustainable Fruit & Vegetable Production


Amanda McWhirt

Dr. Amanda McWhirt

Horticulture Production Extension Specialist



Participating Farm Collaborators


Map of Arkansas counties with Benton, Carroll, Madison, and Washington counties highlighted in red