A Soil Quality Network 2014 Practical Soil Health for Farmers seminar at Washington State University's Mount Vernon location Feb. 13 will be a WSU/Oregon State University/USDA session for the latest information on soil.
Sessions at the meeting will provide farmer information on the following:
- Understanding Soil Quality and What it Means on the Farm, David Granatstein, WSU sustainable agriculture specialist, is with the university's Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources in Wenatchee. He will introduce the concept of soil quality, key principles and practices, and provide examples of what we do and don't know about our soil.
- Soil Quality and Resilience in Agriculture, Chad Kruger, director of the center, who works on climate change and renewable energy issues. He will focus on the need to investigate the relationship between improving soil quality and the capacity for resiliency and adaptation to environmental stress in ag.
- Life in the Soil: earthworms, bacteria & fungi, with Doug Collins, WSU Small Farms Program researcher focusing on soil quality in relationship to fruit and vegetable production. His discussion will probe the soil ecosystem, and the structure of the soil food web as an indication of soil quality. The presentation focuses on organisms in the soil.
- Managing Soil Microbiology for Disease Control and System Resilience, with Mark Mazzola, a USDA/ARS plant pathologist. His talk will review use of Brassicaceae seed meals for control of soil-borne pathogens, and the creation of long-term resilience and disease suppressive soil environments in orchards.
- A panel discussion will investigate New Ideas in the World of Soil Quality, featuring USDA/ARS plant physiologist Stephen Griffith; Loop Biosolids Project's Kate Kurtz, and a third panelist to be announced.
- Get Your Hands Dirty, a hands-on session with NRCS's Cory Owens discussing aggregate stability, compaction and water infiltration; Oregon State University's Nick Andrews, reviewing visual soil assessment, soil texture and structure; Benton Soil and Water Conservation District's Teresa Matteson regarding soil health cards and other tools.
Local research and benefits of cover crops, biosolids compost use on vegetable seed crops, potatoes and small grains, and a compost on the farm session will also be included in the meeting starting at 7:45 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m. at the WSU Mount Vernon facility at 16650 State Route 536 in Mount Vernon, Wash. For more information, call (360) 848-6120 or go to http://smallfarms.oregonstate.edu/node/175840