Feb. 13: Soil quality topic of farm, consumer workshop

Youngquist-soil-workshop-80MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Participants will dig into quality, hands-on learning at a “Practical Soil Health for Farmers” workshop 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Washington State University’s Northwestern Washington Research and Extension Center, 16650 State Route 536, Mount Vernon.

“We designed this workshop to provide practical information about soil health for farmers in northwestern Washington and to provide an opportunity to network and share ideas and solutions,” said organizer Caitlin Price Youngquist, graduate student in the WSU Mount Vernon plant breeding program.

Presentations and panel discussions will address field assessment of soil quality, cover crops, compost and plant resistance to disease – all important factors for building and maintaining healthy, productive and profitable soils.

WSU Mount Vernon graduate student Caitlin Price Youngquist is one of several speakers who will share their research at the workshop. (Photo by Kim Binczewski)

Registration for the all-day workshop costs $30, including lunch. Register and find details at http://smallfarms.

The workshop is part of the Soil Quality Network, a three-year project funded by the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Professional Development Program. Goals are to create a database, develop a website and train agricultural professionals in soil quality assessment, education program development and strategies to support farmers.

Workshop presenters, all WSU faculty members, will include:

David Granatstein, sustainable agriculture specialist with the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources in Wenatchee where he has conducted several studies on soil quality. He will present, “Understanding Soil Quality and What it Means on the Farm.”

Chad Kruger, director of the WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources who works on climate change and renewable energy issues. He will discuss “Soil Quality and Resilience in Agriculture.”

Doug Collins, extension specialist with WSU’s Small Farms Program, which focuses on soil quality and fruit and vegetable production. He will talk about “Life in the Soil: Earthworms, Bacteria, Fungi.”

Mark Mazzola, research plant pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service Tree Fruit Laboratory in Wenatchee. He will speak on “Managing Soil Microbiology for Disease Control and System Resilience.”

Chris Benedict, regional agriculture specialist for WSU based in Bellingham who works with cover crops in western Washington. He will present “Local Research and Benefits of Cover Crops.”

Lindsey du Toit, vegetable seed pathologist in the WSU Department of Plant Pathology, and Caitlin Price Youngquist, graduate student in the WSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, will present “Biosolids Compost Use on Vegetable Seed Crops, Potatoes and Small Grains.”

Price Youngquist is conducting a research trial in which biosolids compost produced by the town of La Conner is applied on land used to grow potatoes, wheat, barley and spinach seed. She is measuring the impacts on soil quality, crop yield and crop quality.



Caitlyn Price Youngquist, WSU Mount Vernon, caitlinwsu@gmail.com, 360-848-6120