American Farmland Trust Seeking Soil Health Specialists to Help NY Farmers


David Haight, New York State Director


American Farmland Trust (AFT) is looking for agricultural service professionals to assist the organization in educating and providing technical assistance to farmers on soil improvement practices.  Applications are now being accepted for the AFT training program designed to prepare qualified professional to do this important work and form a network of practical soil health specialists across New York.

“Soil health practices help enhance farm productivity and resilience to severe weather, while protecting water quality,” says David Haight, New York State Director at American Farmland Trust. “But, these practices can be complicated to implement and vary by farm. The Practical Soil Health Specialists program will create a network of trained professionals that can work directly with farmers to identify the practices that make the most sense for their farm as well as guide implementation in order to increase the likelihood of success for these new practices.”

Up to 20 participants will be accepted into the Practical Soil Health Specialists program. Training will kick off September 2018 and be provided through five, two-day workshops combined with related field days. The program will include lectures, demonstrations, hands-on activities, panel discussions, practice observation, and review of case studies.

Program Topics Include:

  • Soil health principles, functions, indicators, and assessment methods,
  • Soil biology and ecology,
  • Cover crops and cropping systems,
  • Adaptive nutrient management and manure management,
  • No-till and conservation tillage systems,
  • Economics of soil health,
  • And, Communication skills for working with farmers.

As part of the training, each participant will develop their own soil health toolkit designed to help them work with farmers in their regions. Participants will be provided with support for at least one educational event for their region prior to December 2020.

Participants will have the opportunity to network with instructors, farmers, and other participants throughout the program. The deadline to apply is July 20, 2018, and the program cost is $100 for selected participants. A limited number of competitive scholarships are available. Travel stipends will be provided to any participant traveling more than 60 miles each way.

More information and a link to apply can be found at

Practical Soil Health Specialist Training for New York Agricultural Service Providers is a Northeast SARE funded project lead by a partnership including American Farmland Trust, Cornell University, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Cornell Small Farms Program, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, agri-businesses, and farmers. Special thanks to the members of American Farmland Trust for support for this project.


American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. AFT’s innovative work led to a national a movement to save the land that sustains us. No Farms, No Food.  Since 1980, American Farmland Trust has helped to permanently protect more than six million acres of farmland and ranchland. Learn more at