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New SARE Video: Managing Weeds in Organic Row Crops
Farmers have long relied on herbicides to control weeds in row cropping systems. But as consumer preferences change, many farmers are seeking to eliminate or reduce their use of synthetic herbicides where possible. Managing weeds without herbicides can be daunting, and it requires producers to understand the biology and behavior of problem weeds in order […]
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,” […]
New SARE Bulletin: Transitioning to Organic Production
Since the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act passed, the market for organic products has steadily risen. In 2020, organic sales skyrocketed to an all-time high, motivating many farmers to consider transitioning their farms to organic production. While organic production can help farmers gain access to new markets, improve soil and increase profits, the transition process […]
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 […]
Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets
SARE’s newest bulletin, Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets, provides a variety of strategies and tools to help owners of small- to mid-scale operations branch out into wholesale markets.
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 […]
The Value of Farming with Community
Shakera and Juan Raygoza talk about why their bonds with local consumers, families, schools, agricultural educators and other farmers are beneficial for both them and for the community where they live and farm. They operate Terra Preta Farm on 15 acres in Edinburg, Texas, where they grow organic radishes for wholesale markets and run a […]
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 […]
SARE Fellows Examine Sustainable Range Management
After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SARE Fellows recently reconvened to examine sustainable practices used in five crop and livestock production systems in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains.
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 […]
Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement
"Reaching Women in Agriculture: A Guide to Virtual Engagement" outlines a range of strategies and tools to help educators who have prior experience conducting in-person educational activities adapt their programming for online and hybrid spaces.
Recently Funded Projects
The Western SARE Administrative Council approved funding for 59 projects during the March 2022 meeting. These 59 projects totaled $6,577,150 in funding for five programs: Research and Education, Farmer-Rancher, Professional + Producer, Professional Development Program, and Research to Grassroots. Projects were funded in 12 states and protectorates. Example topic areas include a beginning dry farm […]
SARE Seeks Ideas to Improve Sustainable Agriculture Outreach
g recommendations for information products or outreach initiatives to extend research-based sustainable innovations that improve the sustainability of American agriculture.
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 […]