Today’s farmers and ranchers are tasked to feed a rapidly growing global population with fewer, farmable acres, less fresh water, and more pronounced climate change. More than ever before, American farmers have come to understand that the future of our children and grandchildren is rooted in improving and sustaining the health and function of our natural resources.

How do we increase farm productivity and profitability? Reduce the impact of nutrients and fertilizers on water quality? Improve farm resiliency? Hold more water in the soil profile? Sequester more carbon? Increase wildlife and pollinator habitat? Improve the condition of our forests and grazing lands? Reduce agricultural energy use? It all starts with a plan.

Conservation plans can transform our future by giving landowners and operators step-by-step science-based recommendations they can use to improve water quality, wildlife habitat, pest management, soil health, and yields while reducing energy and input costs.

Examples of Conservation Practices Include:

Soil Health and Nutrient Management

Soil tests are an important first step at assessing current soil resource conditions in order to adopt management strategies that promote nutrient retention and cycling within fields saving the producer time and money. The University of Connecticut Extension is working to support Connecticut farmers with a limited number of free soil tests at UConn’s Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory in exchange for partnering with our conservation practice research. It’s that easy!

A fully functioning soil provides nutrients throughout the growing season at the least cost. Maximizing soil health is essential to maximizing profitability while minimizing environmental losses. Principles for improving soil health include minimizing soil disturbance, maximizing year-round roots in the ground, and increasing plant diversity. Conservation planning uses a systems approach to increase soil function and reduce environmental losses. In collaboration with regional Conservation Districts, we hope to expand technical assistance to eligible agricultural producers, especially those not previously reached by USDA NRCS programs.

We continue to speak with farmers about these issues and opportunities and encourage you to contact soil health researcher Katherine van der Woude at: Katherine.vanderwoude@uconn.edu if you want to realize the benefit from a conservation plan and take advantage of a free soil test!

Long Island Sound Watershed Map

Contact Us

Phone: (860) 486-7176
katherine.vanderwoude@uconn.edu
Address: 1376 Storrs Road, U-4134
Storrs, CT 06269-4134