UVM Extension Announces New Opportunity: Building Soil Health through Farmer Peer Learning Networks

Through a recently awarded 3-year Conservation Innovation Grant, the University of Vermont Extension, Northwest Crops and Soils Program and the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts partnered up to develop soil health peer learning groups for farmers with the goal of advancing soil health of Vermont farmland. Through this program farmers will learn to benchmark soil health, evaluate soil health gaps, and track changes in soil health on their farm. The project will also help to identify trends in soil health and ecosystem service benefits that the agricultural landscape provides to the Vermont landscape. The project will begin in the winter of 2023 and continue over a 3-year period.

Are you a farmer or part of the Lake Champlain Basin farming community and have interest in participating in the peer learning network? Contact Heather Darby at (802) 524-6501 or  heather.darby@uvm.edu for more information on getting involved!

This project is part of a larger State of Soil Health initiative in Vermont coordinated by UVM Extension. The goals of this initiative are as follows:  1) Establish a baseline of soil health indicators, carbon stocks, and associated ecosystem services in Vermont’s agricultural landscapes; 2) Create soil health soil sampling standards across management types; 3) Provide farmers with contextualized information about soil health on their participating fields; 4) Support collaboration among the many organizations that work with farmers towards shared goals around soil health; and 5) Build skills and capacity for measuring soil health and soil carbon stocks. Check out this initiative’s Summary of Soil Health Statistics from Vermont Agriculture in 2021 and/or the Soil Carbon Storage and Sequestration in Vermont Agriculture brief.

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