Rachel Seman-Varner - American Farmland Trust

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Rachel Seman-Varner

Senior Soil Health and Biochar Scientist | Climate and Soil Health Initiative, National Programs

Rachel (she/her) joined AFT’s Climate Initiative Team to advance natural climate solutions through regenerative agriculture systems. Building on a comprehensive educational and professional foundation, she applies a collaborative, interdisciplinary, systems approach to solve complex problems in agriculture and the environment. Prior to joining AFT, Rachel served as the National Soil Health Specialist with NRCS in the Soil Health Division. In that role she led the revision of the Soil Carbon Amendment Conservation Practice Standard and the continued development of Soil Health Testing and Soil Health Management activities. She has worked with state departments of agriculture in Florida and Washington to regulate pesticide use, analyze pesticide usage patterns, surface water quality, and soil health, review organic certification and materials registration. She holds a Ph.D. from Virginia Tech with a focus on Agroecology and a dissertation on cover cropping’s role in high-functioning agroecosystems with field studies on fertilizer equivalence of strip-tilled corn production. Her master’s degree in Entomology and Nematology from the University of Florida focused on soil solarization as an alternative to soil fumigant and examined the effects on soil microarthropods, nematodes, and nutrient cycling. Her undergraduate degree was also from UF where she studied botany, ecology, and chemistry.

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