Raising poultry for eggs is common for many small farms and homeowners. Adding egg layers to your farm can be a profitable way to diversify your farm business, or you may just raise eggs for your own use. In either case, egg producers need to know how to safely handle poultry and eggs to minimize the risks of foodborne illness. If you sell eggs, you also need to know the laws and regulations that apply to your operation.

By Gena Moore, CFSA Organic Research Coordinator & Mark Dempsey, CFSA Farm Services Coordinator.

Assess soil health for better crop management header

Soil is the building block for much of life. Many farmers strive to increase and maintain their soil health in order to produce vibrant, nutrient-dense crops and livestock products.

Healthy soil generally has higher nutrient availability for plant-uptake, resists erosion and compaction, retains more water, and imparts resilience to crops in the face of pressure from diseases, insect pests, and weeds.

There are a variety of conservation practices that are strongly recommended to foster soil health, including cover cropping, reducing tillage, adding organic matter, as well as using diverse crop rotations, which may include the integration of livestock. Growers can monitor progress toward soil health goals in a variety of ways:


by Gena Moore, CFSA Organic Research Coordinator | Feb. 10, 2017 – 

Soil sampling, Gena Moore (2)

Soil sampling is an essential task for almost every grower. Whether you’re a home gardener, market gardener, commercial row-cropper, or somewhere in between, you’ll need your soil tested at some point. Knowing how to best sample your soil, where to send the sample and how to interpret the results are all important tasks. Below are some tips for successfully sampling your soil and understanding the results!

First, decide on a soil testing lab. There are several labs that test the soil in multiple ways. Remember, there is no “perfect” soil test and you always need to accept a margin of error in results.

The best practice is to pick a testing lab that will give you your needed soil information and continue testing with the same lab for most future soil tests. This will provide the most reliable way to track any changes in your soil.


Is your soil pH too high or too low? If you don’t know the answer, I urge you to get a soil test. Only a soil test can indicate whether the pH is accurate, and the right level really depends on the plant you want to grow and the natural pH of your soil. Fruits and vegetables accept a wide range of soil pH levels, and acidifying soil is generally unnecessary and not recommended. However, certain fruits, rhododendrons, and azaleas can be intolerant to alkaline soil conditions. The soil pH must be maintained at 5.5 or less for these to grow successfully.