BF 204: Soil Health and Conservation Planning

Training Objective

Soils are the basis for any farm’s success. Participants will learn the basic soil science principles that are important to maintaining healthy soils. They will develop knowledge about soil health and the common conservation practices used to manage them for profitability and ecological sustainability. Guidance on soil testing and reading soil tests will also be provided.

* Why and how often to administer soil tests

* Basics of pH, N, and P nutrient cycling in soil

* Crop removal rates

* Significance of organic matter

* More isn’t always better: Economic optimums verses maximum yield potential

* Manure management options; Composting



Katherine van der Woude
UConn Extension Researcher: Soil Health Specialist
B.S. in Agronomy; Agroecology. M.S. in Sustainable Agriculture; Hydrology

Katherine’s interests include many facets of sustainable food systems that are economically viable, ecologically sound, and socially acceptable. Her masters research at Iowa State University applies agronomic, ecological, and biogeochemical principles to advance our understanding of how agriculture practices influence nutrient cycling. Her methods included a paired-watershed study design to demonstrate the ability of multiple conservation practices, (cover crops, grassed water ways, terraces, filter strips, perennial cover (CRP), wetlands, reduced tillage), to control the amount, fate, and transport of nutrients into waterways. Ultimately, Katherine’s objective is to maximize the sustainable productivity of agricultural systems which feed and fuel the world.


Kip Kolesinskas, Land Use and Conservation Specialist, UConn Extension

Kip serves as the Land Use and Conservation Specialist for UConn Extension’s  Solid Ground Farmer Training Program. He has worked with Connecticut’s farmers, landowners, state agencies, municipalities, and non-profits for the past 31 years. Working as a field soil scientist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kip was responsible for completing the state-wide update and digital release of the Soil Survey of Connecticut. He has intimate knowledge of all the soil landscapes in Connecticut and their limitations and potential for agriculture and agricultural infrastructure. As a Resource Soil Scientist he worked with teams of conservationists, agronomists, ecologists, and engineers to develop conservation plans for farms and evaluate, design, and install conservation practices. With his 35 years of government experience he has extensive knowledge on how to navigate and apply for federal and state programs that can benefit farmers, as well as the regulatory issues such as inland wetlands and water quality. He managed the USDA NRCS Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program and has worked extensively with state agencies, municipalities, and land trusts on farmland protection. Kip has been a major contributor to statewide efforts to increase farmer access to land, develop farm friendly municipalities, and promote locally grown and produced food. Kip speaks and teaches extensively statewide and nationally on soil quality, soils and land-use planning, wetlands, farmland protection, and the rental and leasing of farmland.