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San Luis Valley Sustainable Ag Action Plan
This plan is area focused: Southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley, the headwater region of the RioGrande. Irrigation in this high, arid valley is from a combination of surface water from the Rio Grandeand its tributaries, and pumping from confined and unconfined aquifers. Because these waterresources are overdrafted and connected, managing for sustainability of agriculture involves […]
The Quest: Create Low-Emission Cattle
As cows digest grasses and other cellulose-rich plants, microbes in their large first stomach – the rumen –break down the feed, releasing the potent greenhouse gas methane as a natural fermentation byproduct. Research is ongoing into seaweed and other additives to traditional forages to reduce methane production, creating low-emission feeds. But what if you created […]
Heritage Grain Guidebook
From 2016 through 2021, Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance (RMSA) worked with a grassroots network of nearly 200 grain growers in varying climates, initially across the Western United States and eventually growing nationally and globally, in trialing over 250 varieties of ancient and heritage grains including Indigenous and alternative (pseudo) grains to determine varieties that can thrive in the changing climate conditions of the 21st century. Through this effort, 20 of the most adaptive and resilient varieties of cereal grains, including wheat, barley, and rye, of which there was enough seed stock, were selected for formal replicated research trials at four locations in the Mountain West. Results of both the participatory grassroots trials and the research trials, including grower and grain profiles, are documented in this manual in an effort to inform and inspire others to grow these unique varieties of grains, and to support regionalized grain networks and localized food systems.
In Northern Colorado, Building Soil Takes Time
For anyone focused on building or rebuilding healthy soils, it’s worth remembering that soil took eons to develop initially. Improving it doesn’t happen overnight. That’s a lesson farmers and ranchers are learning in northern Colorado through a Citizen Science Soil Health Project funded by Western SARE. The three-year, three-county project provides free soil testing and […]
Tribute to Mark Frasier: Western Sustainability Pioneer Award
Citing his career-long record in sustainable, holistic range management and his leadership for the Western SARE program, the organization’s leaders recently presented the 3rd Annual Western Sustainability Pioneer Award to Mark Frasier, CEO of his family’s cattle ranch in Eastern Colorado. As one nominator noted, “Mark’s contribution and impact to sustainability in the West has […]
Agritourism Training Materials
Colorado State University recognized the benefits that agritourism—providing educational and recreational experiences on the farm or ranch to tourists—can provide farmers and rural communities. While agritourism helps to diversify a farmer's income, not every farmer is prepared for a service-oriented industry. With the help of a Western SARE grant, researchers developed a curriculum to help farmers […]
Grower Track and Trace Handbook and Videos
Circle Fresh Farms is a network of small- to medium-sized greenhouses producing certified organic fresh vegetables. In order to remain competitive and compliant with emerging expectations to provide farm-to-consumer product tracking systems, Circle Fresh needed to create a product track and trace system that was compatible with industry standards and also accessible in cost and […]
Responses to COVID-19 in Western Ag
Agriculture in the Western Region has been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and its resulting Shelter in Place orders, labor and processing challenges, and strongly shifting consumer behaviors and markets. It has also become clear that our agricultural community has been responding quickly and creatively. Western SARE cares about our community and feels a responsibility to share ideas and strategies. Toward that end, we conducted a survey of our state coordinators and project leaders of grants funded in the past three years. The data and examples are listed below. We will also create a report from this information, along with ideas provided on how Western SARE itself should adapt to the crisis.
Livestock Mortality Composting Manual
Mortality management threatens the sustainability of livestock production in many ways. Composting mortalities is an alternative that holds promise for the achievement of environmental protection, economic sustainability and job creation. Incluye los recursos en español.