Workshop 4, the final workshop in the WFN Summer soil Health Series, looked at resources and technical assistance to support farmers in Hawai’i test for soil health and prepare for generating a soil health plan for their operations.
Dr. Bianca Moebius-Clune, national director of the USDA-NRCS Soil Health Division presented NRCS’s approach to soil health and the resources they provide for partners and producers. She described NRCS Soil Health Management Plans, the direction of soil testing, On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials, Cover Crop Decision Support Tools (not currently available for Hawai’i), Soil Health Basics Training, and soil health videos produced by NRCS.
Dr. Susan E. Crow, associate professor of Soil Ecology and Biogeochemistry at UH Manoa, spoke on Hawai’i Soils, Hawaii soil Health indicators, and soil testing. She highlighted what indicators are most important to Hawai’i soils and emphasized the improvement potential for all Agroecosystems. She also shared tools that are available to farmers.
Hannah Hubanks, ORCD conservation planner and soil health specialist, covered what a soil health plan is and future opportunities for soil health plans. She described some of the best management practices used in soil health plans in Hawai’i. If you are interested in soil health planning sign up for ORCD’s newsletter and follow ORCD on instagram/facebook as upcoming opportunities for soil health planning options will be announced there.
Michelle Dacis and Amanda Shaw, Oahu Agriculture and Conservation Association, introduced the role of Soil and Water Conservation Districts across Hawai’i, how to become a SWCD cooperator, and the ways their program can support soil health practices on your farm. They also shared their together we farm program and some educational resources around soil health.
NRCS Pacific Islands Area (PIA)- Soil Health Strategic Plan: https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/pia/soils/
OACA Together We Farm Online Learning Platform. Check out their soil health lessons and more! https://oahuaca.tovuti.io/login-page
West Oahu SWCD flier https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/swcd/files/2018/03/About-SWCDs-1.pdf
West Oahu SWCD – “How to become a cooperator” – https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/swcd/files/2021/06/Flowchart-Cooperator-and-Conservation-Plan-1.pdf