Extension plans soil health workshops for specialty crop growers
March 10, 2023
By Tracy Courage
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Four-part workshop series teaches healthy soil management practices
- Workshop dates: March 14, May 2, June 27 and Oct. 17
- Register at ly/nwa-soil-trainings; cost $10
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Specialists with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will lead a four-part workshop series in Northwest Arkansas to help fruit and vegetable growers understand soil health on their farms and how to improve it.
“Healthy soils help promote efficient specialty crop production,” Amanda McWhirt, extension horticulture production specialist with the Division of Agriculture, said. “Growers increasingly need tools to understand the status of soil health and manage it to increase the productivity and profitability of their crops.”
The series is part of the Northwest Arkansas Specialty Crop Soil Health Program led by McWhirt and Matt Bertucci, assistant professor of sustainable fruit and vegetable production for the Division of Agriculture. They have conducted soil health assessments of the area and are working to educate and train growers on implementing specific management practices that improve on-farm soil health. The program targets specialty crop growers in Benton, Washington, Carroll and Madison counties, who produce a range of fruit and vegetable crops for local markets. However, the workshops are open to all Arkansas growers.
Workshops will take place at the Division of Agriculture’s Food Science Building, 2650 N. Young Ave., Fayetteville. The cost is $10 per workshop. Register at bit.ly/nwa-soil-trainings.
Presenters will cover soil fertility, pollinator habitats, irrigation and pest management. The workshops will mostly be outdoors, where participants can see demonstrations of soil health best practices.
- March 14 — Soil health basics, winter cover crops, soil sampling and conservation funding, 1-4 p.m.
- May 2 — Managing soil fertility, cover crop termination and soil pest management, 3-6 p.m.
- June 27 — Summer cover crop selection, pollinator habitats, irrigation management and water conservation, 3-6 p.m.
- 17 — Crop rotations, soil biology, riparian buffers and intercropping,1-4 p.m.
Bertucci and McWhirt will lead workshops along with Ryan Neal, Benton County agriculture extension agent; Colin Massey, Washington County agriculture extension agent; Jonathan McArthur, farm manager for the Center for Arkansas Farms and Food; and other guest speakers. Mike Whitis with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service will discuss conservation funding opportunities at the March 14 workshop.
Participants will have a chance to win door prizes, including books, soil knives, cover crop seeds and more.
The fact sheet “FSA2202: Understanding Soil Health” is available online at https://www.uaex.uada.edu/publications/pdf/FSA2202.pdf.
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension. To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: https://aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch. To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. The Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system through the Agricultural
Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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