Soils and Cover Crops: Back to Basics | Suelos y cultivos de cobertura: De vuelta a lo básico

Protecting soil quality is a high priority for all growers. But what actually defines high quality soil, and what role can cover crops play? Where does no-till fit in? Join us as James Cassidy gives us a lively refresher course in Soils 101 to get us thinking about the soil environment and starting out with cover crops.

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Speaker Bios

James Cassidy has been an instructor of soil science at Oregon State University for over 15 years. The introductory class now has over 100 students each term and is very popular. James is also the faculty advisor for the wildly popular OSU Organic Growers Club, OSU’s student farm. Coming from a non-traditional background—he worked in the music industry for over 35+ years—James is passionate about soil and is popular with students because of his dynamic speaking style. The student farm project has more than 300 student volunteers on its list-serve and continues to grow. The farm cultivates more than 50 different fruit and vegetable crops and is just beginning its 21st season.
Rebecca Sweet-Smith is owner of Buzz Cover Crop Seeds, which provides diverse and organic seed mixes for ecologically-minded vineyards and farms in the Pacific Northwest. In 2006 she completed a master’s thesis at Oregon State University on the physiological effects of annual and perennial cover crop treatments on two Pinot noir vineyards. For 12 years, she has worked in professional vineyard management in the Willamette Valley, including with Van Duzer Vineyards, Martinez Vineyard Services and Zenczak Ranch. Many of you may know Rebecca in her role as LIVE inspector, a hat she has worn for 13 years. Others will recognize her from the classrooms of Umpqua and Chemeketa Community Colleges.
Steve Groff and his family farm 215 acres of cash grain crops, cover crops for seed, pumpkins, hard squash and heirloom tomatoes in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. His Cedar Meadow Farm has conducted thousands of cover crop research trials out of which he developed the Tillage Radish, a cover crop known and used around the world.

Steve is the founder of Cover Crop Coaching, which educates farmers and farm advisors about effective cover crop use and soil health principles. His recently released book “The Future-Proof Farm: Changing Mindsets in a Changing World,” is available at He also enjoys fine wine while relaxing with his wife at the end of a long day!

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