View Poster Application


Extension Education

Sarah Hirsh
University of Maryland
Princess Anne


Soil quality and fertility is critical to agricultural productivity, profitability and sustainability. This program provided an introduction to soils for beginning farmers, as well as provided more experienced farmers with a deeper look into soil science and an opportunity to learn about recent developments in soil conservation and online soil tools. Topics discussed included how soil fertility and plant growth are related to soil properties, improving soil quality using conservation practices such as cover crops and no-till, using online soil resources such as Web Soil Survey, taking soil samples to accurately represent your land, and understanding and interpreting soil test reports. The program objectives included 1) increase farmers’ knowledge of soil quality and fertility, 2) emphasize the importance of soil quality through interactive demonstrations, 3) provide farmers with training and computer assistance in using web soil resources, and 4) increase adoption of soil conservation and fertility best management practices. To accommodate diverse participants, the program was offered three times in Somerset County, MD—as a daytime workshop, as an evening workshop series, and as a workshop for high school agriculture class/FFA field-trip. There were a total of 40 attendees between the daytime and evening workshops, and 20 attendees at the high school field-trip workshop. Of the farmer attendees, approximately half had been farming five or less years and half had been farming over 15 years. Workshop surveys indicated that participants gained knowledge about soil productivity and fertility as well as best management practices and conservation as a result of the workshop. As a result of the workshop, the majority of participants cited that they would use best management practices for conservation and have their soil tested. Finally, 25/26 respondents rated the class as good or excellent overall. Participant comments indicated that they particularly benefitted from the interactive components of the workshop such as the soils demonstrations and online soil resources training.

Poster has NOT been presented at any previous NACAA AM/PIC

This poster is being submitted for judging. It will be displayed at the AM/PIC if not selected as a State winner. The abstract will be published in the proceedings.

Click to view Poster

Authors: S. M. Hirsh, M. Perdue, J. Miller
  1. Hirsh, S. Agent, University of Maryland, Maryland, 21853
  2. Perdue, M. Agent Associate, University of Maryland, Maryland, 21863
  3. Miller, J. Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, University of Delaware, Delaware, 19947