The project develops advisory services in sustainable soil management and implements research information for advisors and farmers.
The means of sustainable soil management and carbon farming can benefit in many ways: increase crop yields, store atmospheric carbon in the soil, reduce nutrient leaching, prevent eutrophication of the Baltic Sea and other waters and adapt agriculture to climate change. Research information on effective measures exists, but it needs to be implemented in practice more widely.
The project has three objectives, which promote sustainable soil management and carbon farming:
1) to popularize research information for the use by farmers and advisors
2) to train 30 current or future crop production advisors to become top experts in soil health management
3) strengthen collaboration between research, advisory services and farmers.
The project includes two work packages (WP):
WP1 (Implementing Research Information) popularizes research results in articles and other communication material for the use of farmers and advisors. Clearly communicated research information can be used by policymakers, and it will also increase public awareness of climate-sustainable farming. The WP1 is led by the Baltic Sea Action Group (BSAG). The expertise and communication channels of the Finnish Environment Institute and ProAgria Southern Finland are utilized.
WP 2 (Blended learning training for crop production advisors) offers a training programme in soil health management, which trains participants to identify soil health problems at various farms, to plan and select the best actions to increase soil health and carbon content at different field plots and to monitor the effectiveness of the actions. In addition, tools and design templates are provided and instructed to be used in the above-mentioned activities. The training utilizes the knowledge, tools and materials produced in the project called OSMO - Knowhow and tools for resource-efficient soil health management in a collaborative network.
The training programme includes six on-line workshops, six field days, on-line discussions, soil health management plan (with subtasks) for an existing farm and structured, independent study using the material given. The programme lasts from 1st July 2019 to 31st Dec 2021. Thirty crop production advisors and mentors are trained. The WP2 is led by the University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, which organizes the training in cooperation with the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) and ProAgria Southern Finland.
The project has a total budget of 260 000 euros, and it will lasts from 1st July 2019 to 30th June 2022. The project is funded by a support association for soil and water technologies (Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry). The project is carried out by BSAG (the lead partner), the University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute and ProAgria Southern Finland as written in the work package descriptions.