Session 1: Soil Health Foundations


The videos and resources in this session will introduce farmers to the foundations of soil health, focusing on how improved soil health can contribute to healthier and more productive crops. The overlap between soil health and soil fertility will be explained with a focus of how a farmer applies this knowledge in their operation. Farmers participating in this cohort will hear a theoretical case study describing how a local farm operation could use their in-field soil health assessments, soil health and soil fertility lab reports to develop a strategy for improving dynamic properties for their soil types and address resource concerns, such as compaction.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how improving the properties of their soil may address some of their production/resource concerns.
  • Gain a better understanding of how soil functions differ under different management practices and how those practices influence the entire ecosystem.
  • Gain a hypothetical understanding of how to use a soil fertility and soil health test as guidance for improving their soil properties.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify some of the considerations and order of operations that go into developing strategies to improve the physical, chemical and biological properties of their soil.
  • Gain a theoretical understanding of how to connect soil health improvements to increased crop performance; to identify environmental conditions that affect nutrient management (soil type, slope, landscape position); and to identify factors influencing soil fertility-(depth, water availability, tilth (drainage, aeration, aggregation) pH, soil organism activity, organic matter, contamination, balance of nutrient).

Dr. Johnathon Deenik
Dr. Jonathan Deenik is a Specialist with CTAHR's Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences. His program focuses on assisting farmers and land managers in Hawaii implement soil management practices that maintain good crop production, and more importantly, enhance soil quality and protect the soil for future generations. He also teaches a course at the university, Fundamentals of Soil Science, and mentors a number of students in his lab.