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Adapting to a Changing Climate
Western SARE has released our 28-page publication, Adapting to a Changing Climate: How Western SARE is Meeting the Needs of a Warming West.
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 […]
Administrative Council Welcomes Alumni
Just because an Administrative Council Member’s term has ended, that doesn’t mean that they are no longer invested in the future of Western SARE and of agriculture in our region. For that reason, Western SARE has developed an “alumni” program and is reinvigorating it this year. The first step toward a re-energized alumni program took […]
CAB Collective Sustainable Agriculture Action Plan
The Sustainable Agriculture Action Plan for Cabernet Sauvignon and red Bordeaux (CAB) Wine Production in Paso Robles is a document developed by the Paso Robles CAB Collective winegrape growers, winemakers, marketers, proprietors, and other wine industry stakeholders for under a pilot grant program by Western SARE.
Recently Funded Projects
Western SARE has funded 77 projects for 2023. These 77 projects totaled $7,363,082 in funding for six programs: Research and Education, Farmer-Rancher, Professional + Producer, Professional Development Program, Graduate Student Research & Education, and Research to Grassroots. Projects were funded in 14 states and protectorates. Example topic areas include: Overall, To review summaries of all […]
Farmers Test Benefits of Using Hemp Stalks to Produce Mushrooms
When optimists are buried in proverbial lemons, they make lemonade. When the women who own Intentional Growth Farm in Utah had too many hemp stalks, they produced exceptionally large, tasty mushrooms. “We used the hemp stalks as the nutrient source for our oyster mushrooms, and customers said they were the best mushrooms they ever tasted,” […]
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.
Playing Pest Friends
At their annual meeting this summer, Western SARE state coordinators came together and played an educational board game about managing pests. Their experience was similar to other groups who indicate that they learn more by doing than listening. Jason Thomas and Grant Loomis, extension educators at the University of Idaho, received a Western SARE grant […]
Farmers Test Whether Cardboard Can Keep Bindweed at Bay
Bindweed can be the bane of farmers’ existence. The climbing vine spreads easily by seed and rigorous root system, choking off crops and other plants along the way. “Even when we till in the spring, we spend a huge amount of time hand weeding throughout the season to manage bindweed,” explained Jonah Sloven, who grows […]
Reasons to Like Wine
Reasons to like wine Number 462: It can be good for New Mexico’s native bees and other pollinators. Even though grapevines are largely self pollinating and don’t need insects like bees or butterflies to produce fruit, vineyards themselves can provide habitat for native pollinators and other insect species, benefiting both the grower and the environment. […]
Farmers Test Whether Clay in Compost can Help Mitigate Climate Change
On a 100-acre farm in Washington, farmers David Bill and Faith Van De Putte are curing a new compost mix that could provide important clues to fighting climate change. “We’re adding a bit of clay to see if that increases nutrient density and carbon retention,” explains Bill from Midnight’s Farm on Lopez Island, where he […]
Video: Testing Cover Crops in New Mexico Vineyards
Watch our newest video describing this Western SARE funded work - Miranda Kersten, IPM Program and Gill Giese, Viticulture of New Mexico State University describe their work promoting putting cover crops in vineyards. The research will demonstrate how to ensure the cover crops successfully grow and flower so that they attract pollinators and provide additional […]
Wildfires in the West are inevitable and part of a natural, necessary ecological cycle, but invasive grasses like cheatgrass can make fires burn hotter, spread farther and cause more destruction. So, across the West, researchers, range managers, cattle ranchers and others are looking for ways to economically control cheatgrass and other invasive grasses on millions […]
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 […]
Economist Seeks to Quantify Impact of Wolf, Cattle Interactions
Native gray wolves are returning to rugged rangelands throughout the west, raising risk for the millions of cattle who graze there. In the California counties of Lassen, Plumas and Siskiyou, many ranchers say their cattle are being stalked by wolves and show signs of stress, such as fewer pregnancies and lower birth and weaning weights. […]
Graduate Student Projects Funded for 2022
Western SARE’s Administrative Council recently approved funding of $323,118 for 13 Graduate Student Research and Education projects. The projects are located in eight Western states (Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming). The Graduate Student Research & Education Program involves Master’s or Ph.D. students partnering with producers on innovative research and outreach on […]
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 […]
Growing Mushrooms to Remediate Contaminated Soil
Mushrooms can bio-remediate certain contaminated soils, although it's not a simple or foolproof process. But for someone interested in mushrooms or already growing them, it can be work the effort.
Food Safety and Conservation Co-Management: A Guide for Hawai‘i Growers
A guide for Hawaii farmers interested in improving their efforts towards food safety and improving natural resource conservation, through co-management practices. This document acts as a resource to both learn more about suitable techniques while reviewing pros and cons as shared by local producers, as well as provide template language and guidance towards implementing such […]
Needs Assessment of Sustainable Agricultural Practices in the Western U.S.
Western SARE has always strived to meet the needs of our region’s agricultural communities. Toward that end, we recently funded a needs assessment to better understand information gaps and future directions for research and outreach efforts related to sustainable agriculture in our region. The study also aimed to understand the regional differences that may exist […]