I'm interested in Sepps thoughts on the conversion of a piece of rolling hill property that has been farmed with traditional ag (gmo corn) for the last couple of decades into the sepp style. Shouldearthworks be constructed first before soil regeneration with cover crops/ammedments/etc, or vise versa to improve the soil some before contouring the land? Any particular soil amendments to counter the gmo/heavy pesticide usage effects?
Earthwork should be done 1st because it will benefit the soil building plants, thus building the soil faster.
And if you build the soil 1st and then dig you disrupt the soil structure/fungi network and cover good top soil with subsoil, which you will then have to rebuild with cover crop again.
So I would do
test the soil add your amendments including bio-char,
then plant soil building crops
Water is the most important resource on the planet, and without a doubt the place to start. All life is 70% water, water is life. Once the hydro-logical balance of a landscape is restored 70% of the work is done. You should most certainly contour the land and restore the water household of the property as the first step. From here it will be much easier to establish and grow soil enriching crops. Lupin, alder, clover, and nettles are all great species for your situation.
When you create earthworks, adding texture to the land, this will help break up your compacted soil. Worry about restoring the water balance first, then worry about the soil. From this first action all of the life will start coming back. Fungi and bacteria will come back, as will insects and the rest of nature's helpers. Cover crops and mulching will be very important, the surface of the earth should never be exposed to the sun. This makes it so that the soil cannot absorb the rain when it comes, further disrupting the water balance.
Just to clarify, Sepp does not ever burn organic matter for use as a soil amendment. It is much better to return it to the soil in it's natural form and let nature do the work