As water continues to be a scarce resource and food security concerns increase, agricultural producers must ensure they are maintaining healthy soil in order to maximize the production of quality crops. To help growers, the University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering a seven-week webinar series Aug. 30-Oct. 11 on understanding and managing soil health, as well as a day of in-person 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,” said Maninder K. Walia, assistant professor and field crop specialist, who put together the online seminar series and will also present at the Sept. 30 event in person. “By knowing the makeup of your soil, how soils work, and ways to manage soil to promote short- and long-term soil health, producers can prevent many problems and make their jobs easier, as well as make more many of their crops. generous.”

Weekly online workshop series

This class series, part of Extension’s Alternative Crops Program, will be held 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 and its Extension Unit, as well as specialists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection and Full Circle Compost. The workshops are free, but registration is required for each event. Workshops include:

  • Properties of soilsAugust 30, submitted by Walia.
  • Importance of soil nutrientsCompost and Fertilizer with Application Rate Calculation, September 6, submitted by Cody Witt, Full Circle Composting.
  • Enhancing C Sequestration in Soil: Can Biochar Help?, September 13, presented by Paul Verburg; associate professor of earth science; University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Linking soil and water healthSeptember 20, submitted by Chuck Schembre, environmental scientist, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection.
  • Principles of Ag & Soil Regenerative HealthSeptember 27, presented by Marlon Winger, regional soil health specialist (Idaho, Wyoming and Montana), USDA NRCS Department of Soil Health.
  • Annual winter cropping systems: Lessons learned after two years of evaluation in Nevada, October 4, submitted by Juan Solomon; associate professor of agronomy; University of Nevada, Reno.
  • The basics of composting, October 11, submitted by Elaine 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.

Day of presentations and in-person tours, “Soil Health and Regenerative Agriculture for the Carson River Watershed”

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

Local producers and soil health experts from Extension and other agencies will provide insights and lead field tours of regenerative agriculture practices. There will be equipment demonstrations and the opening of a soil pit, which enables the determination of a whole spectrum of soil properties. Sessions include:

  • Introduction and Workshop Summary/Purpose, presented by Chuck Schembre, environmental scientist, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection – Bureau of Water Quality Planning; and Joe Frey, owner, farmer and workshop host.
  • Basics of soil healthsubmitted by Jim Komar, Nevada State Soil Scientist, Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • The connection of land and waterpresented by Chuck Schembre, NDEP – Bureau of Water Quality Planning, Environmental Scientist.
  • Cover crops for building soil health in Nevada, presented by Walia, Extension; and Christopher Bernau, Great Basin Plant Materials Center.
  • Producers’ Perspective: Soil Health Management Practice, presented by Frey, on the economics of regenerative practices; and Tim Coverston, Carson Valley grower, on variable cover cropping, alfalfa, farm diversity and soil health basics.
  • Introduction to the Carson Watershed Conservation District, the Carson Ag River Coalition Working Group and our on-farm pilot projectspresented by Brenda Hunt and Shane Fryer, watershed program manager and program specialist, respectively, with the District.
  • Landfall simulator demopresented by Zahahgir Kabir, Regional Soil Health Specialist at NCRS.
  • Rambling River Ranch tours and equipment demonstrations, led by Frey. Participants will look at multiple areas under regenerative ag systems and soil health management, including corn, alfalfa, hemp, and rotational grazing systems. Field observations and discussions will include no-till practices, roller compaction, winter cover planting, weed issues and management, adaptive grazing, adding diversity to alfalfa, improving the farm’s riparian corridor and more. There will also be an excavated soil pit and soil science education.

The event runs from 9am to 4pm, with registration starting at 8:30am and lunch catered by the Wild Horse Café at 12:15pm. Registration fee is $20 and includes lunch. For more information on this event, contact event organizer Staci Emm, Extension educator.

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

People who need special accommodations or assistance for the online workshops or for the in-person event should contact Paul Lessick, Extension’s civil rights and compliance coordinator, at least five days before the scheduled event with their needs or more information.

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