TECHNICAL AND LEADERSHIP WORKSHOPS

The professional development workshops held in conjunction with the SWCS International Annual Conference will be eligible for continuing education credits from various certifying organizations.

Workshop 1: Boosting Soil Health through Climate-Smart Vegetable Production in Southern Piedmont
Sunday, July 21
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Instructors: Biswanath Dari, North Carolina A&T State University; Kristie Wendelberger, Rodale Institute; Debjani Sihi, Emory University; Kim Burtz, Carolina Farm Stewardship Association; Rongzhong Ye, Clemson University; Patrick Brown, Nature for Justice; Cristine Morgan, Soil Health Institute; Suzanne Girdner, Georgia Organics; Brent Wills, Virginia Association for Biological Farming; Jennifer Thompson, University of Georgia

Rodale Institute and 12 partner organizations across the Southeast are collaborating with 500 Southern Piedmont vegetable farmers and 30 farmers markets through the Climate-Smart Commodities Program. The five-year project aims to gather information on how sustainable and climate-smart agriculture practices (cover crops and no/minimum tillage) improve carbon sequestration and soil health on southern farms and how these practices economically impact growers. We seek to identify barriers to transition to climate-smart practices and ways to market value-added produce to consumers. We provide guidance, technical assistance, and recommendations to the USDA on ways to support organic growers in implementing sustainable practices and furthering their economic success. Session presenters will discuss the project's specifics, how farmers can participate, and what project participants will gain from the $25 million project designed to help southeastern farmers thrive economically and socially while mitigating the impacts of climate change. The USDA-NRCS funds this project through the Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program.

Tickets: $75 early/$100 late (after June 3)/$125 onsite (after July 3)

Workshop 2: Designing Phosphorus Removal Structures
Sunday, July 21
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Instructor: Chad Penn, USDA ARS

Phosphorus (P) removal structures are now included in a National Standard for cost-sharing. While the theoretical operation of a P removal structure is simple, they are truly engineered structures that are custom-designed for each site, aiming to capture the majority of storm flow, unlike nitrogen bioreactors. This workshop assumes that the audience is already aware of what a P removal structure is and how it operates. The objectives are to (i) explain what information is necessary for conducting a proper design, (ii) demonstrate various calculations with inputs, (iii) explain and demonstrate the design process, (iv) demonstrate how to use the P-Trap software (Phosphorus Transport Reduction App), and (v) provide practical advice from the field. The workshop will mirror the training modules on P removal structures recently released by the USDA and ASA. Information and software are available at https://www.ars.usda.gov/midwest-area/west-lafayette-in/national-soil-erosion-research/docs/phosphorus-removal-structures/. For the workshop, the participants will need a computer or tablet for the P-Trap software.

Tickets: $75 early/$100 late (after June 3)/$125 onsite (after July 3)

Workshop 3: Explore New Tools to Help Make More Informed Cover Crop Decisions
Sunday, July 21
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Instructors: Victoria Ackroyd, University of Maryland and Northeast Cover Crops Council; Anna Morrow, Purdue University and Midwest Cover Crops Council; Lindsey Ruhl, University of Vermont Extension; Brian Davis, North Carolina State University

Please join us for this train-the-trainer workshop focused on three tools developed by the regional cover crop councils, Precision Sustainable Agriculture network, and others to support site-specific cover crop selection and management: a cover crop species selector tool, a cover crop nitrogen release and biomass decomposition tool, and a cover crop economics calculator. Workshop participants will gain hands-on experience with the tools. Case studies will be provided with details for a fictional farm to input into the tools. Participants are also welcome to bring their own scenario(s) to test on the tools. Please bring a laptop computer to get the most out of this event.

Tickets: $75 early/$100 late (after June 3)/$125 onsite (after July 3)

Workshop 4: WEPS WebStart Training
Sunday, July 21
1:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Instructors: Chris Coreil, USDA NRCS; Adam Reed, USDA NRCS; Travis Youngberg, USDA NRCS; Susan Tallman, USDA NRCS; Larry Wagner, USDA ARS

WEPS WebStart was released in 2023 and serves as the official NRCS wind erosion assessment tool. This new version brings online interface updates, updated crops, operations, and residues database, and many bug fixes. This SWCS Workshop will focus on training NRCS technical service providers, partners, and consultants in the use of WEPS WebStart. Participants are expected to have basic experience using WEPS software, as this training session will focus on 1) updated WebStart features, 2) common model input errors, and 3) challenging management systems. Those wishing to follow along are welcome to bring laptop computers. The example Run folder set will be available prior to the Workshop.

Tickets: $75 early/$100 late (after June 3)/$125 onsite (after July 3)