BF 150: Cover Cropping – Why, How & When

Training Objective:

The objective of this course is to provide basic information about:
·       Why cover cropping is beneficial for Soil Health and crop production
·       How to choose cover crops:  varieties, management, and termination
·       When and how to integrate cover crops into your production system
Cover crops is just one part of a group of practices farms can use to help their soil be more robust, more productive, resistant to erosion, and fewer inputs needed such as sprays or fertilizers.  This class will introduce you to the many different options farms can choose when considering cover crops as a way to improve water movement through the soil, maintain or improve soil nutrient availability, and bring a vital part of the life-giving roots and shoots to your soils. 
Paula Rosado,  Soil Conservationist,  USDA-NRCS CT
Paula is currently a Soil Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Paula graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor degree in Horticultural Science and a Master degree in Crop Protection in 2014.  Paula has past experience in a microbiology lab as a research assistant investigating the agronomic projects:  Organic System production of legumes in Puerto Rico and Monitoring Program and Training  System to Detect Early Spread of the Invasive Soybean Cyst Nematode Species.  Paula also has teaching experience as a laboratory instructor for Horticulture, Plant Physiology, Forages and Phytopathology courses. 
Sylvia M. Muniz-Gaya, Soil Conservationist, USDA-NRCS CT
Sylvia graduated from the University of Puerto Rico with a Bachelor Degree in Agronomy.  Sylvia helps answer questions to problems related to natural resources such as soil, water, air, plants, and animals.  She meets with land users to help them make sound natural resource management decisions on their land.  Sylvia works directly with farms or land users to develop Conservation Plans designed to help better manage the natural resources on the farm property and offer several ideas and alternatives to address the problem areas, while also taking into consideration the farms objectives.  Sylvia’s mission and goal is to provide optimal customer service while improving our natural resources so future generations can enjoy a better quality of life, food, and resources.
Jim Hyde, State Agronomist, USDA-NRCS CT
Jim specializes in soil nutrition with a focus on animal agriculture and whole farm planning for environmental concerns to soil and water.  Jim works with animal farms across the state addressing problems related to soil health, soil erosion, crop production, cover crops, manure storage and use, animal management, and pastures.  One of Jims favorite parts of the job is the opportunity to learn new things from farms trying different ways to improve their production and conservation. 
Ray Covino,  District Conservationist for Windham County, USDA-NRCS CT
Ray is an ardent teacher of cover crops to students and farms across the nation.  In addition to his daily duties of managing personnel and programs in Windham County, he provides conservation planning for animal farms, orchards, vegetables, and forest lands.  Ray has unyielding passion not only for cover crops and soil health, but also teaches principles of permaculture and the longevity of agriculture for future generations.