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The Keystone Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is offering an exciting opportunity to further the goals of soil and water conservation through the promotion of soil heath.

Application submittal period March 1 to April 30. Amounts award $500.   Awards determined by executive committee.    Apply here.


SWCS Soil Health Mini Grants – 2022 - 2023

Luzerne County Conservation District - Jennifer Lauri

Location: Luzerne County
Farmer partner: Mark Travelpiece, Chris Maylath

Project: To showcase how tailored cover crops can improve the overall health of the soil and how adding biological products can help increase microbial activity and in turn reduce fertilizer needs. Summer field day is planned for August 16. The farmers own the ground and the equipment that will be used for this project. Funds will be used for field day expenses that other grants won’t pay for.

Luzerne County photos.jpg

Penn State Extension – Heidi Reed

Location: York County

Farmer partner: Andrew Flinchbaugh

Project: Multiple short-lived cover crops will be established in demonstration plots (totalling one acre) after snap bean harvest in mid-August.  These cover crops will protect the soils, scavenge nutrients, and suppress weeds prior to small grain seeding later in the fall. A mid-fall field day will be held to showcase the project and possibly recruit interested farmers for a York County Soil Health Hub. Funds will be used primarily for the cover crop seed.

York Cover Crop mix.jpg

Washington County Conservation District – Tom Ulrich

Location: Washington County

Farmer partner: Ron Carter

Project: Multiple strips of cover crop mixes will be established after small grain harvest. They will demonstrate different mixes and their benefits, different establishment techniques, drill calibration, and terminating covers with a roller crimper. A field day is planned for September. Funds will be used to cover seed costs and costs to host the field day. 

SWCS Cover Crop Mini Grants – 2021

Beaver County Conservation District

Location: Beaver County

Farmer Partner: Jeff Pflug

Project: Four mixes of cover crop, which included annual rye, triticale, crimson clover, radish, and barley, were planted in the fall of 2021.  A field day was held on April 27, 2022, where  NRCS and PSU Extension staff discussed the relationship between cover crops and soil health, using the cover cop plots to illustrate the principals.  Seven farmers and six agency staff attended this event held in Western Pennsylvania.


2022 Beaver.jpg

Penn State Extension

Location: Blair County

Farmer Partner: Elwood Kyper

Project:  Event highlighted 33 difference cover crop species and mixes, including new and novel cover crop species, planted following the harvest of wheat to improve soil health. Penn State Extension staff lead a discussion with farmers to address concerns with making cover crops and other soil health practices work on their farms.

Perry County Conservation District

Location: Perry County

Farmer Partner: Hickory Lane Farms – The Hoover Family

Project:  Four different cover crop plots consisting of triticale and various cover crop mixes were planted to address soil compaction in cropfields.  The purpose of the demo was to show that cover crop mixes can have the dual purpose of providing spring forage as green chop for livestock as well as improving soil quality. 

Perry County 2022.JPG


The Keystone Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society is offering two $500 scholarships to college undergraduate students in the fields of agriculture, environmental studies, soils, or natural resources, who are currently attending college in Pennsylvania.  Applicants should have sophomore, junior, or senior status.  Applications are to be postmarked no later than May 31, 2024.  Scholarships will be awarded on the basis of a combination of academic merit and program of study, quality of the student’s essay and application, financial need, and educational and career goals that are consistent with the SWCS mission.  The SWCS strives to foster the science and art of natural resource conservation.  Our work targets conservation of soil, water, and related natural resources on working land— land which is used to produce food and fiber. SWCS also promotes other services that improve the quality of life people experience in rural and urban communities.  We work to discover, develop, implement, and improve ways to use land that sustains its productive capacity and enhances the environment.  The cash award scholarships will be awarded in June of each year.  Successful applicants will be notified by postal mail soon after the committee has arrived at a decision.  We request that winners of previous years not apply a second time.   More details refer to scholarship announcement letter.    Apply here


Please make this information available to students at your college or university.  Feel free to distribute copies to other departments that have eligible students.  One of this years scholarships was once again made possible by a generous donation from the Pennsylvania chapter of the Association of Retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE).


Mary Lloyd Smith, Chair
Scholarship Committee, Keystone Chapter, SWCS
4177 E. Main Street
Belleville, PA  17004



The Soil and Water Conservation Society has three opportunities at the international level for scholarships. The Society’s Awards Committee will evaluate and rank nominees.  Recommendations will be presented to the  Board of Directors for final approval.  Recognition of all scholarship recipients will be made at the Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference. Please visit to apply.

Please be aware that you must be a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society for at least 1 year to apply for these scholarships.  Opportunities for scholarships are as follows:

1. Research Scholarship—made possible by Kenneth E. Grant

2. Soil Conservation Scholarship—made possible by Donald A. Williams 

3. Student Leader Conservation Scholarship—made possible by Melville H. Cohee

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