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Natural Resources Conservation Service - Organic Cross-Training

Overview of NRCS/OT/WSARE cross-training



With grant funding support from the Western Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (WSARE) Professional Development Program, Oregon Tilth partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other regional partners to deliver training sessions and tools to an audience of organic and conservation professionals.

In 2009, the Organic Conservation Cross-Training Series was developed and delivered to help in-the-field conservation planners and organic certification professionals correlate the requirements of organic certification with those of traditional conservation practices and Farm Bill programs.  The Organic Conservation Cross-Training brought organic professionals and natural resource specialists together to:

  • Learn how traditional conservation practices can benefit organic systems,
  • Advance solutions that shape conservation practices to organic operations, and
  • Increase the scope of conservation assistance available to organic producers.

Four sessions were held, each focusing on a different type of organic cropping system.  Topics covered identified areas of need, including soil quality, nutrient management, wildlife habitat as well as insect, weed and disease management.

The training sessions were attended by a variety of professionals in natural resources and the organic industry in the tri-state area, including:

  • Organic certification professionals
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) conservation planners
  • Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) planners & district managers
  • Other government agency natural resource professionals

The grant project planning team developed training curricula that can be replicable in other regions or future training sessions.  Materials developed include a multi-day training agenda, involving in-class presentations, group discussion activities, pre- and post-tests, and site-specific, inquiry-based field activities.

With this website, we've made available the instructional materials and educational resources for anyone who wants to create their own locally adapted cross-training courses or learn more about aligning efforts of conservation and organic professionals working with private land owners.

Information about technical assistance and possible cost-share funding for natural resources conservation practices on organic farms? Contact Sarah Brown, Organic Conservation Specialist

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