Events / 7/29 – 7/31 | Empire Farm Days Virtual Soil Health Center Program

7/29 – 7/31 | Empire Farm Days Virtual Soil Health Center Program

07/29/2020 to 07/31/2020

Attendees gather for a tour of the cover crop plots at the 2019 Empire Farm Days. Photo credit: Haley Rylander


Although the 2020 Empire Farm Days was canceled, the New York Soil Health Working Group, New York Soil Health Initiative, and Empire Farm Days are excited to bring you a Virtual Soil Health Center Program that would have coincided with the dates for the 2020 Empire Farm Days Tradeshow. Please register for the online webinars using the registration links for each day below. Note that there is a separate registration link for the virtual cover crop walk.

Click on the register links below to register separately for each day you’d like to attend.


Day 1 – Wednesday, July, 29

10:00 -11:00 am

Cover crop interseeding: next steps for increasing adoption – John Wallace, Penn State

John WallaceJohn Wallace, Ph.D. and Assistant Professor of Weed Science at Penn State, will discuss his team’s cover crop interseeding research and future directions of this practice. John conducts cutting edge sustainable cropping systems research aimed at developing cover cropping strategies to manage weeds in both full- and reduced- tillage systems. He also specializes in finding cover crop and other solutions to managing herbicide resistant weeds. Come learn more about cover crop interseeding, an important strategy for overcoming barriers to planting cover crops.


John Wallace received his degrees from Penn State and University of Idaho. After completing his Ph.D., John rejoined Penn State as a Post-doc under Bill Curran, a well-respected Agronomist and Weed Scientist (2014-2017). John Wallace then served as the Specialty Crop Systems Specialist at Cornell University for a short period before he returning to Penn State to his current position.


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Soil Health Practices in Dairy Systems Farmer Panel with Forrest Watson, Mulligan Farm; Ryan Akin, Hemdale Farms; Jason Burroughs, Aurora Ridge Dairy  – Moderated by Janice Degni, Cornell Cooperative Extension


12:00 pm – 12:30 pm

Virtual Tour of Cover Crop Plots – Rod Porter, Kings AgriSeeds


Day 2 – Thursday, July 30



10:00 am – 11:00 am

Presentation on no-till planters – David Dumm, Binkley & Hurst


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Linkages between soil biology and soil health: The science and new findings – Jennifer Moore-Kucera, American Farmland Trust

Jenn Moore-KuceraJennifer Moore-Kucera, Ph.D., leads the Farmers Combat Climate Change program at American Farmland Trust that focuses on regenerative agricultural practices, farmland protection, and clean, renewable energy. Moore-Kucera has been a leader in soil health research and outreach via previous positions in academia and the USDA. Jenn will speak on the linkages between soil biology and soil health. Soil biology underpins many of the critical soil functions that we depend on in agriculture. Come learn from an expert on soil health management, soil organic matter dynamics, and microbial ecology.


Before joining AFT, she served as the Western Soil Health team leader with the NRCS Soil Health Division, where she developed curricula and helped trained NRCS and partner staff on soil health principles and practices. Before that, Jennifer was an associate professor of soil and environmental microbiology at Texas Tech University. She holds a B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Binghamton University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in soil science from Iowa State University and Oregon State University, respectively.



Day 3 – Friday, July, 31


10:00am -11:00 am

Cover cropping to improve soil and plant health on an organic vegetable farm: Reflecting on what’s worked– Jean-Paul Courtens, Roxbury Farm and Roxbury Agriculture Institute

Willsboro Field Day Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens has dedicated much of his career educating the next generation of farmers. Jean-Paul will discuss his on-farm research and experience with reduced tillage and cover cropping on organic vegetable farms. He will share some of the lessons about what has worked and what hasn’t worked in his trials over the years. Jean-Paul is a native of the Netherlands. He is a graduate of Warmonderhof, part of Groenhorst Agriculture College, specializing in biodynamic farming. He moved to the US in 1986 and founded Roxbury Farm in 1990. In 2018 he and his wife Crystal founded Philia Farm in Johnstown, NY to further education and research in regenerative agriculture.


He was part of the original CRAFT (collaborative Regional Alliance of Farmer Training) in 1995. He shared many resources on the Roxbury Agriculture Institute Website (known as the Farm Manuals) and taught numerous workshops at farming conferences. Between 2014 and 2017 Jean-Paul created the ProFarmer program at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley NY; an on-the-job training program to provide a path to farm-ownership. During this time, he guided the transition of their 1250-acre sweet corn operation to organic and biodynamic practices. Jean-Paul was recognized as Farmer of the Year by NOFA NY in January 2018.


11:00 am – 12:00 pm

Organic Veg/Grain Farmer Panel with Aaron Munzer, Plowbreak Farm; Josh Jurs, Krehers; Rick Pederson, Pederson Farms; Jean-Paul Courtens, Roxbury Farm  – Moderated by Crystal Stewart, Cornell Cooperative Extension


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