Winter camelina, a cover crop, grows as part of research on cover crops being done at the University of Nevada, Reno Experiment Station’s Valley Road Field Lab.
Winter camelina, a cover crop, grows as part of research on cover crops being done at the University of Nevada, Reno Experiment Station’s Valley Road Field Lab.
RENO – Whether growing crops for commercial agriculture or for a home garden, without healthy soil, crops will struggle. University of Nevada, Reno Extension is offering an online series of six workshops to help growers understand and manage soil health.

“Healthy soil is key to successful crop production,” said Maninder K. Walia, Extension assistant professor and field crop specialist, who has put the workshop series together. “By knowing the composition of your soil, how soils function, and ways to manage soil to promote short-term and long-term soil health, growers can prevent a lot of problems and make their job easier, as well as make their harvests more bountiful.”

The soil health workshops are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 – 11 a.m., Dec. 2- 16. Presenters include faculty and researchers from the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, as well as specialists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection. The workshops are free, but registration is required for each event. The workshops include:

• How Soil Works, Dec. 2, presented by James Komar, Natural Resources Conservation Service state soil scientist. Komar will discuss how soils work, the ecological frame for soil function, soil behavior and responses to disturbance, and methods for optimizing soil function to meet both ecological and human objectives. Register at

• Cover Crops – Nature’s Way, Dec. 7, presented by Marlon Winter, Natural Resources Conservation Service Soil Health Division regional soil health specialist. Winger will discuss cover crop functional groups, feed quality of several species and the attributes they provide, as well as give examples of grazing covers in the Intermountain West. Register at

• Soil Salinity: Causes, Effects and Management Options, Dec. 9, presented by Paul Verburg, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of soil science in the Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Science. Verburg will discuss what processes cause soils to become saline, how soil salinity can impact soil health and crop production, and options to help manage saline soils. Register at

• Winter Annual Cover Crop Systems for Soil Health Restoration and Forage Benefits, Dec. 14, presented by Juan Solomon, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of agronomy in the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Sciences. Solomon will discuss the dual-purpose benefits of different winter annual cover crop systems (both ecosystem and soil health benefits), and their forage potential that can offset cover crop establishment costs in Nevada. Register at

• Preventing Soil Erosion on Agricultural Lands: Implementing Soil Conservation Practices to Improve Soil Health and Water Quality, Dec. 16, presented by Chuck Schembre, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection environmental scientist. Schembre will discuss common soil erosion issues on agricultural lands, the impact of erosion on watersheds, nutrient leeching to water bodies, best management and soil health practices for preventing and mitigating detrimental impacts of erosion, and how soil health can be used to improve watersheds while increasing farm and ranch resilience. Register at

 Registration is required for each workshop. An email with the Zoom link will be sent after a participant registers for a workshop. For more information, contact Linda Brown at Extension, 775-423-5121, ext. 221, or Persons in need of special assistance should notify the organizers three days prior to the event.