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Prerequisites/Homework for Cropland Session

at September 28 - October 2, 2015 Bootcamp

Chris Lawrence, Cropland Agronomist, USDA-NRCS

804/287-1680 or

Fulfilling these prerequisites, taking and passing a test on this material (to be distributed later), and attending the cropland and rainfall simulator portions of Boot Camp will satisfy the certification requirement for Basic Erosion Processes Training.  The total time to complete the assignments below is estimated at 3 hours and 20 minutes.  Try not to do all of it in one day.

1.      Listen to a 60 minute lecture by the author of the book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.  If this sounds boring or too long, remember that you are getting the author of a hot recent science book to summarize 250 pages in 60 minutes.  That’s 4 pages per minutes, which ain’t too bad.


2.      Spend no more than 20 minutes reading the biography of Hugh Hammond Bennett at:



3.      Go to the website

and watch the first two parts of the three part movie called Wind Erosion & Its Control.  It may take a very long time for each movie clip to load.  So do some of the other reading below while you’re waiting for the clips to start!  The total run time for the two movie clips should be no more than 20 minutes.


4.      Read selected passages from the book calledBuilding Soils for Better Crops, 3rd Edition (2009) by Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es.  This should take no more than 40 minutes.  For your convenience these excerpts (23 pages at eighth-grade level) have been assembled into a single document that can be viewed at:


5.      Go to the website below.  Watch the video clip of the presentation from the 2011 Harrisonburg Virginia No-till Alliance (VANTAGE) Conference called “You’ll Think Twice Before Tilling Again! A Comparison of Soil Erosion in No-Tillage vs. Clean-Tillage” by Dr. Charles Raczkowski.  It may take a long time to load, be patient!  ONCE IT STARTS, ONLY WATCH THE FIRST 30 MINUTES!


6.      Spend 30 minutes studying VA NRCS guidance on making LS determinations for RUSLE2.

Focus especially on Diagrams 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B.