Our Trainings

From introductory courses for new employees to advanced training for conservation advisors, the Conservation Professional Training Program, or CPTP, provides the trainings you need at every level.

Available Online Trainings

Fundamentals of Soil Health

Learn to improve your soil and water management, implement cover crops and build soil health through four self-paced online soil health courses for farmers and agricultural professionals. These self-paced, online courses are available at no charge, and can be taken stand-alone or in conjunction with the in-field soil health training.

  • Introduction to Soil Health: The online Introduction to Soil Health course provides an overview of the importance of soil health to crop production and dives into the three primary characteristics of soil – physical, chemical and biological. This course also demonstrates easy-to-use field tests to identify current soil conditions and highlights the common practices that a farmer may choose to implement in order to improve soil health.
  • Cover Crops and Soil Health: The Cover Crops and Soil Health course discusses cover crops, the benefits of using cover crops to improve soil health, common barriers to utilizing cover crops and potential alternatives. The course explains proper selection, establishment, management and termination of cover crops in diverse production systems and recommends site specific cover crops conducive with producer goals and farming systems.
  • Soil Water Management: Building on the basics from the Introduction to Soil Health course, Soil Water Management delves deeper into the topics of soil-water and soil moisture management. Learners gain an understanding of soil-water properties related to water quality and quantity, benefits of improving water infiltration and soil moisture holding capacity, common challenges to adoption of practices that improve soil-water balance and how to overcome those challenges. Real-farm examples are used to reinforce course concepts.
  • Soil Health Management Systems: Soil Health Management Systems focuses on the challenge of implementing soil health practices in a farming system. The course guides participants through the process of selecting appropriate soil health management practices to meet farm-specific management requirements and goals. Course materials explore the key agronomic management principles to improve soil health, including: reduced tillage, cover crops, crop rotations and mulching, with an emphasis on understanding the benefits and challenges of implementing various soil health management practices within diverse agricultural production systems.

To register or for more information, contact Kevin Erb at kevin.erb@wisc.edu or 920-391-4652.

AgLearn Courses

The Conservation Professional Training Program has worked with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service to create a series of online courses hosted through AgLearn. The courses our team has developed are listed below:

CourseAgLearn Catalog NumberCourse Description
Introduction to Conservation ForestryNRCS-NEDC-000482This course informs conservation planners about basic forest ecology and forest management practices to establish a foundation for implementing forestry and agroforestry conservation practices.
Basics of Plant Identification for Conservation PlannersNRCS-NEDC-000450This course introduces plant identification and its role in the conservation planning process.
Delivering Effective Blended Training to ConservationistsNCRS-NHQ-000055The course provides succinct, practical information to help you create effective blended trainings.
Ecological Site DescriptionsNRCS-NEDC-000428This course informs conservation professionals about ecological site descriptions and the value of referencing them throughout the NRCS conservation planning process.
Introduction to the Emergency Watershed Protection ProgramNRCS-NEDC-000491This course provides participants with fundamental knowledge about the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, including the types and levels of assistance available, program timelines, the recovery process that NRCS follows, key documentation required, and program eligibility criteria. Participants also take away information about where to locate EWP Program information and common roles that NRCS staff fulfill.
Emergency Watershed Protection Program ReadinessNRCS-NEDC-000490This course will refresh your knowledge of the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program and help you get ready to support program efforts in your area. The course takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.
Forage Suitability Groups (Pasture States)NRCS-NEDC-000427This course introduces forage suitability groups (pasture states) and their reports.
FSA 858 Wetland Screening ToolFSA-HQ-DAFP-858This course provides a step-by- step method to understand and complete the FSA-858 form along with background and practice in identifying potential wetlands on an applicant’s property that may impact his/her loan application.
Fundamentals of Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) ProvisionsNRCS-NEDC-000409This course will give an overview of the basics of the Highly Erodible Land Conservation (HELC) and Wetland Conservation (WC) provisions of the Food Security Act of 1985, as amended.
Introduction to Pasture Condition ScoringNRCS-NEDC-000414This course introduces the pasture evaluation approach known as Pasture Condition Scoring (PCS), including the 10 indicators of pasture health most commonly used in PCS and some tools for evaluating the indicators.
Rangeland Health AssessmentNRCS-NEDC-000410This course is designed to raise awareness of when, why, and how to use the rangeland health assessment procedure as detailed in Interpreting Indicators of Rangeland Health.
Stream Visual Assessment Protocol 2 (SVAP2)NRCS-NEDC-000423Stream Visual Assessment Protocol 2 (SVAP2) introduces the process of visually assessing streams on working land.
Using Basic Soil Survey Information in Conservation PlanningNRCS-NEDC-000416The goal of this course is to introduce several common soil properties and interpretations, the basics of map unit composition, and Web Soil Survey, the official source of soils data.
Using Planning Criteria in Conservation PlanningNRCS-NEDC-000486This course introduces the NRCS planning criteria and their role in each phase of the Nine Steps of Conservation Planning.
Using WIN-PST for Conservation PlanningNRCS-NEDC-000429This course introduces the Windows Pesticide Screening Tool (WIN-PST), how to run it, and how to interpret and use its reports.
Wildlife Habitat Evaluation for Conservation PlanningNRCS-NEDC-000426The course introduces the concept of wildlife habitat and how to apply science-based means of evaluation to aid the conservation planning process.
NEPA, the NRCS-CPA-52 Environmental Evaluation and Conservation PlanningNRCS-NHQ-000048The course explores NEPA, the NRCS 9 Step Planning Process and the NRCS-CPA-52 Environmental Evaluation Worksheet.

Federal employees should automatically have an AgLearn account. Non-federal employees will need additional assistance to access AgLearn courses. For assistance, please contact your local the AgLearn point of contact staff.