WNY SHA Summer Field Day

Tuesday August 22nd, 2017 8:30am to 3:30pm
Orleans County 4-H Fairgrounds
Trolley Building, 12690 Rt. 31 Albion, NY 14411

Mark your calendars — the WNY Soil Health Alliance Summer Field Day is here! Morning lectures from keynote speaker Wendy Taheri of TerraNimbus LLC and John Wallace from Cornell, will be followed by an afternoon at Toussaint Farms in Ridgeway, NY, observing 8 cover crop trials and exploring a soil pit, with on-site discussion led by Wendy Taheri. Cover crop interseeder and herbicide demonstrations will also be included in the workshop.

To register for this event, please download our event flyer and return the included form to Orleans County SWCD at 446 W Ave, Albion NY 14411 with checks made payable to Western New York Soil Health Alliance enclosed. 

You may also register by emailing your name and number of attendees to If registering via email, payment will be due in cash at the start of the workshop. 

Register by August 18th for reduced pricing. $40/pre-registered participant; $50 for walk-ins. Lunch is included in the cost of the workshop. DEC and CCA credits pending.

8:30-9:30 am — Registration & Refreshments

9:30-10:45 am — Wendy Taheri, TerraNimbus, LLC | Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) 101

10:45-11:45 am — John Wallace, Cornell Assistant Professor | Best Management Practices and Herbicide choices when Interseeding Cover Crops

12:00-1:30 pm — Lunch and travel to field trial site

1:30-2:30 pm — Station 1: Cover Crop Field walk | Observe 8 trials of cover crop plantings

2:30-3:30 pm — Station 2: Soil pit with Wendy Taheri | Learn what’s going on underground

Wendy Taheri, Ph.D. Photo provided.

Wendy Taheri, Ph.D. Photo provided.

Wendy Taheri, Ph.D. | TerraNimbus LLC

Wendy Taheri is a microbial ecologist who is transforming the world of agriculture by developing microbe-based, sustainable solutions to replace and reduce the plethora of toxic chemicals and environmentally-damaging practices currently used in conventional agriculture.  Because of her background in Environmental Ecology, she understands the synergistic effects that occur in healthy ecosystems and is applying them to broad-scale agriculture.  Her research focuses on harnessing the power of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) and other beneficial microbes; and has broad-ranging, practical applications that are not only more profitable for farmers but also can potentially reduce atmospheric carbon and aquatic dead zones while increasing the sustainability and quality of our food and fiber supply chains.  

Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi (AMF) 101: AMF are keystone species in soil.  These tiny organisms remove carbon from the carbon cycle and use it to binds particles into soil aggregates.  This aggregation reduces erosion and increases the water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil.  As if that wasn't enough, AMF also improve the nutritional value of crops, and make plants more drought, salinity and disease resistant.  Ultimately this can reduce or eliminating the need for many toxic agrochemicals while providing better profit margins for farmers.  When coupled with best management practices and the innovative applications and methods that Dr. Taheri has developed to protect and diversify the microbial community in the soil and on foliage, global crop production systems can be transformed into dynamic systems that are more resilient to climate change, drought, and other environmental stresses.  

John Wallace, Cornell Assistant Professor. Photo provided.

John Wallace, Cornell Assistant Professor. Photo provided.

John Wallace | Cornell Assistant Professor

John Wallace is a post-doctoral research associate at Penn State University. His research broadly focuses on integrated weed management strategies in conventional and organic field crop production systems that utilize conservation tillage practices, with a particular focus on weed management tradeoffs associated with integrating cover crops into annual grain production systems. In September 2017, John will join Cornell’s NYAES in Geneva, NY as an Assistant Professor of Specialty Crop Systems, where he will focus on integrated weed management in vegetable and fruit crops. His presentation will focus on developing best management practices (BMPs) for interseeding cover crops into field corn. The talk will primarily focus on research conducted at Penn State and will include information on cover crop species selection, interseeding timing and compatible herbicide programs.

A cover crop mix in a Toussaint field, 2016. Photo by Jena Buckwell.

A cover crop mix in a Toussaint field, 2016. Photo by Jena Buckwell.

Toussaint Farms | Ridgeway, NY

Toussaint Farms in Ridgeway, NY grows corn, soybeans and wheat on approximately 1,750 acres using a variety of cover crop and reduced/no-till methods.

To learn more about Toussaint Farms interseeding trials and experience with reduced and no-till, follow the links below. 


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at

Resource Spotlight: Adaptation Workbook

The USDA and the US Forest Service Department of Agriculture recently launched a digital Adaptation Workbook for Forestry and Agriculture. “The Adaptation Workbook is a structured process to consider the potential effects of climate change on forest ecosystems and design land management and conservation actions that can help prepare for changing conditions.” 

The workbook has a lot of flexibility to accommodate a wide variety of enterprises and relies on farmers gaining an understanding of their own geologic and climatic conditions, as well as having a strong grasp of their farm’s objectives and management goals. The Workbook was created because “more and more information is becoming available on climate change projections and potential impacts on natural resources and agriculture. Unfortunately, most of this information doesn't seem applicable because many land owners and managers are unsure how climate change might actually apply at the scales that are relevant to their work. The Adaptation Workbook was created to bridge this gap.”

The Workbook consists of 5 basic steps:

  1. Define goals and objectives
  2. Assess climate impacts and vulnerabilities
  3. Evaluate objectives considering climate impacts
  4. Identify adaptation approaches and tactics for implementation
  5. Monitor effectiveness of implemented actions

While the main focus of the workbook is to help create a structure for climate adaptation, there are also elements of mitigation within the process. Though complete mitigation of climate change is likely impossible, there are many adaptation projects that go hand in hand with mitigation strategies, and vice versa. 

The Workbook can be used for Agriculture and Forestry. PDF versions of the workbook are also available at the links below. To use the online version, visit

Adaptation Resources for Agriculture

Forest Adaptation Resources: climate change tools and approaches for land managers, 2nd edition.



On Farm Trial: Branton Farms, Interseed Trials (2013 to 2015)

Donn Branton of Branton Farms was an early adopter of reduced-till and no-till methods, giving up traditional tillage in 1988. Over the years, the family-run farm has grown a variety of cash crops on their 1,500 acres, and with the recent addition of Donn's son Chad to the family business, the duo have begun seriously exploring their cover cropping potential.