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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 […]

Cheatgrass-Eating Sheep

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Grassland Restoration in the Desert Southwest

Early settlers’ descriptions of southeast Arizona told of uninterrupted grassland stretching from one mountain range to another. That’s changed. Today much of that land has been invaded by mesquite and other woody shrubs and the ecological services provided by the grassland – including water recharge into the underground aquifers – has been diminished. One reason […]

Project Focuses on Equity in Agriculture

California agriculture includes a growing number of producers of color, who have historically been underserved by extension institutions, according to Sonja Brodt, University of California Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program (SAREP). With increased attention on building constructive working relationships with producers of color and immigrant producers, extension services would become more widely accessible and […]

Remembering Jackson Phillip

Jackson Phillip, long-time Western SARE PDP State Coordinator from Micronesia, passed away in September 2021. In his capacity of ANR Program Coordinator at the College of Micronesia, FSM, Jackson fulfilled his State Coordinator role since the very beginning of the Professional Development Program. That was in 1994 and former Associate PDP Coordinator Al Kurki remembers […]

Creating Community Partnerships to Improve Oregon Pest Management

A few recent IPM extension projects in Oregon didn’t begin the way so many extension efforts do. They didn’t start with a workshop. They didn’t start with a field day. They didn’t start with teaching or any sort of telling. They started with a question. “We’d ask, ‘If Oregon State University was doing all the […]

Getting the Diagnosis Right: Guam Workshop Focuses on Foliar Fungal Diseases

In farming, as in medicine, an accurate diagnosis is critical. For a doctor to prescribe the correct treatment, they need to know the specific disease causing a patient’s symptoms. The same is true for growers. When they see disease symptoms in a field, they need to know the underlying cause in order to correctly treat […]

Pasture Calendars Help Preserve Rangeland

Forages – a diverse group of plants providing both livestock feed and important bio-products – are critical for the success of Western agriculture. That’s why Washington State University’s Dr. Steve Fransen helps develop best pasture management practices to benefit the land, environment, animals, and producers’ bottom lines. “I love going out to the field, pulling […]

Highlighting Innovations in Soil Health

On March 8-9, 2021, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) held the first Soil Health Innovations conference. Originally scheduled last year as an in-person conference in Montana, the conference was postponed due to COVID and expanded as a nationwide virtual conference with 675 participants. The live stream event included speakers and panels, as well […]

Can Cover-cropping and Grazing Work with Dryland Grain Farming?

Farmers know that planting one crop year after year is asking for trouble. It depletes the soil and leads to increased insect, weed and disease pressures. But in certain places, it’s also been the major agricultural system for decades. In north-central Washington, along the Canadian border, dryland wheat production has been the dominate production system […]

Wireworms in Western Washington

Christine Langley has successfully run Lopez Harvest organic farm on Lopez Island in Washington state’s famed San Juan Islands for more than two decades. But for most of that, she wasn’t fighting wireworms.  Those showed up about a dozen years ago, and have made her job a lot harder.  “I grow a lot of lettuce […]