Cornell University's Soil Health program prepares for an upcoming international advanced soil health course for practitioners, educators, and students.
Harold van Es, professor of soil and water management in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), and Joseph Amsili, extension associate in CALS and the Cornell Soil Health program coordinator, are the lead instructors of the course.
"All over the world, people are concerned about the health of their soil, and we know that healthy soils underpin food security and provide a greater supply of ecosystem services. Historical land use and intensive agriculture with poor soil management have led to an alarming loss of soil organic matter in agricultural soils worldwide," said van Es. "In this course, students will learn about how different factors interconnect – the biology, physics, and chemistry of the soil and how management practices impact them – to make your soil healthy and resilient or unhealthy and vulnerable to degradation."
Van Es and Amsili have previously held soil health courses nationally and internationally to help farmers and practitioners understand and implement regenerative farming and soil health practices. This advanced soil health course offering is comprehensively designed as an integrated set of lectures and self-guided study. Participants are awarded a certificate for completing the course. Taking place virtually from December 5-14, 2021, the total time commitment over ten days is approximately forty hours.
"It's a great chance to bring together a growing network of innovative farmers, agricultural professionals, and researchers to implement and promote practices that build soil health globally," said Amsili. "We're looking forward to providing this training and networking opportunity."
Additional co-instructors from CALS include Matt Ryan, associate professor in the soil and crop sciences section of the School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS); Robert Schindelbeck, extension associate in SIPS and director of the Cornell Soil Health Lab; Rebecca Schneider, associate professor of natural resources; Janice Thies, associate professor of soil microbiology in the soil and crop sciences section in SIPS; David Wolfe, emeritus professor in the horticulture section in SIPS; and additional guest lecturers to be added.
"Our goal is to help people adopt and promote sustainable soil health practices," said van Es. "This advanced course will provide participants with the resources and knowledge to help land managers maintain or improve yields while cutting costs and improving the overall health and resiliency of agricultural lands."
The course fee is $100 ($40 for residents of developing countries), and a limited number of scholarships are available. Online registration is open at www.soilhealthtraining.org/register.