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Train the Trainer


A USDA - SARE professional development opportunity focused on preparation for and implementation of no-till and cover crops.

*Please note that this opportunity has passed. You can check out the 'Our Projects' tab at the top of the page to see what programs are currently being offered. Be sure to sign up for our mailing list on the home page to stay up to date on new opportunities!*

This course will train mid-Atlantic agricultural service providers to better support farmers who are preparing for and implementing in-field soil health practices.  

The transition to no-till and cover crop farm systems can be difficult and demands farms to acquire a significant amount of knowledge, skill, and equipment to ensure success.  After completing coursework, agricultural technical service providers will be able to answer the most common questions posed by crop farmers adopting no-till and cover crop farm systems. ​The education program will address soil preparation for no-till, no-till equipment, and cover crop establishment and termination. Agricultural service providers will learn about common implementation-related questions, common problems, and corresponding solutions. 

This course will enable agricultural service providers to better support farmers' transition to no-till and cover crop implementation. Agricultural service providers, equipped with cutting edge knowledge into these practices, will more effectively promote, encourage, and facilitate no-till and cover crop implementation.


Conservation Tillage

  • No-till drill and planter basics

  • Steps to a successful transition to no-till

  • Effectively communicating to reluctant farmers

  • Common drill and planter modifications to row cleaners, closings wheels, and no-till coulters

  • Nutrient management in no-till systems

  • Solutions to common planter problems, including irregular seed depth, hairpining, and sidewall compaction.

Cover Crops

  • Cover crop selection and purchase tips

  • Tips to increase drilling cover crop success rate in heavy residue

  • Cover crop influence on nutrient management 

  • Cover crop establishment methods including aerial seeding, drilling, high crop spreading, and interseeding

  • Cover crop termination using targeted herbicide selection, rates, and timing

  • Alternative cover crop termination methods including roller crimping, planting green, and grazing. 

Online & Interactive Curriculum

Curriculum combines short presentations by farmers and agricultural professionals and incorporates group discussion to expose participants to critical topics. 

Building a Conservation Community

Federal, state, county, non-profit, and for-profit members of the agricultural community will network and learn from each other. 

Continuing Education Credits

Participants eligible for nutrient management CECs (PA, MD) and CCA CEUs (All credits pending approval)

Free Program

This program is offered free of charge thanks to the generous support of the USDA Northeast Sustainable Agriculture, Research and Development (SARE) Grant.  Comprehensive course manual included. 



Webinars will occur once a week for five weeks starting August 2020 from 9:00 to 10:30 AM.  

To keep group sizes small and encourage more regional dialog and networking, each workshop will be offered three times each week. Each day of the week will emphasize a different region with different soils, climate, and crops.  Participants are encouraged to attend the same workshop every week, but, should a scheduling conflict arise, are also welcome to attend different workshops.


Northern Pennsylvania and New Jersey
MONDAY, August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24, and 31st
Emphasis on heavier soils, and commodity cropping operations.


Southern New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland

TUESDAY, August 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th, and September 1st
Emphasis on sandier soils and operations with longer growing seasons, and vegetable operations.


Southeastern/Central Pennsylvania
WEDNESDAY, August 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th, and September 2nd
Emphasis on loamy soils and operation with accompanying livestock operation

A robust network of
private sector and non-profit providers is critical to providing farmers with high quality, comprehensive technical assistance. 

course instructors


Christian Bench

Agricultural Specialist
North Jersey RC&D

Steve Groff bio picture 2020.jpg

Steve Groff


John Nance

Prescription Tillage


Dave Wilson

Extension Educator, Agronomy
Penn State 


Bridgett Hilshey

Agricultural Specialist
North Jersey RC&D

WHO is this for

The training is designed for anyone who regularly works with farmers and is interested in supporting no-till and cover crop management.

The training is designed for staff of NRCS, FSA, soil conservation districts, extension, and non-profits involved in agricultural conservation. It is also appropriate for the private agricultural sector staff including seed and chemical dealers, crop advisers, and custom operators. The curriculum will be tailored for all skill levels from beginner to advanced by focusing on critical thinking and discussion.


Already consider yourself an expert?  Then take part in the discussions and share your expertise! These workshops are a unique opportunity to interact with and learn from, personnel across all sectors of the agricultural service industry from the public, private, and non-profit.  

WHat is the time Commitment

This will be a five-part interactive webinar Series with required supplemental reading. 

Participants will take part in five 1.5-hour webinars and may attend an optional advanced soil health practices field day in the spring of 2021.  

  1. Introduction to the Program (1.5 hours)

  2. No-till Preparation (1.5 hours)

  3. No-till Implementation (1.5 hours)

  4. Cover Crop Preparation (1.5 hours)

  5. Cover Crop Implementation (1.5 hours)

  6. Wrap Up Field Day (Optional) – Advanced Soil Health Practices

Webinars will be highly interactive and encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and discussion.

Supplemental reading estimated at 4 to 6 hours spread out across the five-week course.


what are the extra benefits of the course
  • Continuing Education Credits
    Participants who complete the course are eligible for the following:

    • Pennsylvania Nutrient Management Credits (4 CECs)

    • Maryland Nutrient Management Credits ​(9.5 CECs) 

    • Certified Crop Advisor Continuing Education Units (7 CEUs)
      Nutrient Management (1); Crop Management (4); Professional Development (0.5); Sustainability (1.5)

  • Free Book
    All participants will be provided with a free copy of the book, A Practical Guide to No-till and Cover Crops in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition, the course participant will have the opportunity to contribute information toward the second edition of this book.


The course will be similar to a book-club. 
Participants will read and watch education materials at their leisure, and then come together in small groups to discuss the materials through formalized active learning activities and open discussion.  


Course Timeline

More Information
Time Commitment
Complete short online application
1 Minute
Complete by July 10th, 2020
Online Pre-Assessment
Short online assessment of their knowledge and learning needs.
10 Minutes
Complete by August 1st, 2020
WEBINAR: Introductory Webinar
Participants will attend a webinar introducing the program, leadership team, performance target verification plan, and begin discussion of impediments to and misconceptions surrounding no-till.
1.5 Hours
August 3rd, 4th, and 5th
WEBINAR: Preparation for No-till
Participants will discuss preparation for no-till, nutrient management in no-till systems, and how to effectively communicate with farmers.
1.5 Hours
August 10th, 11th, or 12th
WEBINAR: Implementation of No-till
Participants will discuss no-till equipment common equipment modifications, basic no-till troubleshooting, and situations where no-till may not be appropriate.
1.5 Hours
August 17th, 18th, or 19th
WEBINAR: Preparation of Cover Crop
Participants will discuss seed purchasing at different scales, how management decision impact seed selection, and tips to reduce cover crops seed costs.
1.5 Hours
August 24th, 25th, or 26th
WEBINAR: Implementation of Cover Crop
Participants will discuss how cover crops for different rotations, nutrient management with cover crops, as well as cover crop application and termination techniques.
1.5 Hours
August 31st, or September 1st or 2nd
Online Post-Assessment
Short online assessment of their knowledge and learning needs.
10 Minutes
Complete by September 15th
Participant will record, quarterly , the impact that knowledge from trainings had on interactions with farmers.
1 Hour
Ongoing 2020 and 2021
Spring Field Day (Optional)
All course participants will be invited to a field day (location TBD) highlighting advance soil health practices including planting green, grazing cover crops, and reducing chemical inputs from cropping systems.
6 Hours
Spring 2021
Award Certificate of Competion
Fall 2021

register now

Space is Limited. 

Registration closes July 25th 2020


This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number: 2018-38640-28415 through the Northeast Region SARE program under project number #ENE19-157-33243 is an equal opportunity employer and service provider. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The course is a collaboration  between 


The course content is developed in collaboration with generous assistance from the following individuals. 

Cali Alexander

Lisa Blazure
Soil Health Coordinator
Stroud Water Research Center

Michael Braucher
Mohrsville, PA

Brittany Dobrzynski
Stewardship Project Coordinator
New Jersey Audubon

Robert Fulper
Fulper Farms

Steve Groff
Cover Crop Coach
Holtwood, PA

Lamonte Garber
Watershed Restoration Coordinator
Stroud Water Research Center

Jim Hershey

PA No-Till Alliance President

Hershey Farms LLC
Elizabethtown, PA

Kristen Meistrell
Stewardship Project Director - South
New Jersey Audubon

John Nance
Prescription Tillage

Eric Rosenbaum
Rosetree Consulting LLC

Michael Yacovelli,

Farm Foreman
NRCS Cape May Plant Materials Center​

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