Project Details

The funded Project (LNC18-403), “Regionally-Specific & Collaborative Educational Approaches to Promote Sustainable Soil Health Practices,” was a collaboration between eight of C2A3’s original members: Central Lakes College (MN), Clark State Community College (OH), Illinois Central College (IL), Northcentral Technical College (WI; Lead); North Dakota State College of Science (ND), Northeast Community College (NE), Northeast Iowa Community College (IA), and Richland Community College (IL). The four-year Project, 2018-22, (three years + one year no-cost extension due to COVID) focused on teaching producers and agriculture students about profitability, sustainability, and productivity of regionally-specific soil health management recommendations related to nutrients, cover crops, rotational cropping, manure management, no-till agriculture, etc. The uniqueness of this Project is that across the represented states, and even within those states, geography, weather, soil types, crops, and length of seasons varied greatly; thus, each college focused on providing the relevant awareness, knowledge, and skills needed within their service areas. Much of the teaching/learning occurred in classrooms, learning labs, and farm fields.

  • Over the four years, the Project included/impacted/hosted:
    • 569 farmers
    • 447 ag professionals
    • 3,307 agriculture students (many who will be/are our next generation of ag leaders)
    • 62 consultations
    • 30 curricula, factsheets or educational tools
    • 17 on-farm demonstrations
    • 6 on-line trainings
    • 15 published press articles, newsletters
    • 12 tours
    • 43 webinars/talks/presentations
    • 17 workshop field days
    • 39 other educational activities (K12 events, classes, lectures)

 

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Member Colleges

Central Lakes Member College

Clark State Member College

Illinois Central Member College

North Dakota Member College

Northcentral Technical Member College

Northeast Community College NE

Northeast Iowa Member College

Richland Community Member College

Member College Project Focus Areas

Details of each college’s education, research, and collaborations are included in the Final Project Report linked below. The college’s integrated soil health conservation practices related to soil microbial health, compaction, water quality, water management, weed suppression, fertilizer retention, manure management, soil erosion, physical/biological improvements, soil erosion and/or carbon storage.

Member College Project Deliverables

Some key deliverables of the Project:

  • Project colleges established or enhanced advisory panels composed of industry representatives, producers, Extension personnel, and/or agriculture students to provide advisement on curriculum development, development and dissemination of educational materials, and advisement on implementing outreach activities such as high school tours and field/demonstration days.
  • Project college staff and agriculture faculty attended annual C2A3 Conferences which intentionally included agenda items focused around soil health, tours of the hosting college’s working farm production, networking with industry leaders and agriculture students, attendance at university and state ag fairs/demonstrations, etc.
  • Project colleges created MOUS with their respective state Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) teams to collaborate on the college’s working farm conservation plans, train new NRCS team members, provide soil conservation training, and host field day demonstrations to producers and agriculture students.
  • Project colleges used Soil Health Buckets in various ways to raise awareness and educate learners: included in associate degree curriculum, showcased at K12 and Partnership for Progressive Agriculture (PPA) events, utilized during field days/demonstrations, etc.
  • Project college representatives attended biannual Project meetings to discuss goals, progress, budgets, and successes/challenges.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, all Project colleges used technology to virtually provide education to students and producers.

Example project deliverables are available below: