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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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Putting the Winter Back in Winter Squash

For growers, it doesn’t matter how much you harvest. What matters is what you sell! A good example of that came out of Oregon recently, but applies broadly. Growers were having trouble producing and storing a crop they for sale in the winter into the early spring. “We heard from farmers that they weren't making […]

Funded Grants on Diverse Ag Topics

Western SARE funding is important for many reasons. It helps researchers develop and test new sustainable farming and ranching techniques. It helps university extension agents and other agricultural professionals get that new knowledge into the hands of producers. And it helps farmers and ranchers conduct their own research on their own land, testing out new […]

Hawaii and the Pacific Islands Face Unique Challenges During the COVID-19 Crisis

The agriculture community in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands is feeling the same impacts from COVID-19 as the mainland. But in addition, the islands face the added challenges of remoteness and having tourism-dependent economies.  The loss of tourism is a huge impact for all of the food system. Restaurants rely on tourists and the local […]

Getting Research Knowledge to Ranchers Quickly

Western SARE’s Research to Grass Roots grants have a simple goal: to get the knowledge gained in recent research into the hands of farmers and ranchers who can use it to improve their practices and profitability. A newly funded Utah project is a perfect example. It looks at the results of four previously funded Western […]

Western Ag’s Creative Strategies During COVID-19 Pandemic

Farmers and ranchers in the West have confronted considerable challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic.  They have been dealing with rapidly changing markets, supply chain slowdowns, and shortages. Strongly shifting consumer behaviors and dramatic drops in demand from restaurants and schools required them, as well as farmer organizations, to respond quickly and creatively.  Responding quickly and […]

Focus on Getting Research Results Adopted

Over the years, SARE has provided millions of dollars for research into sustainable agriculture practices through competitive awards to university researchers, non-profit organizations, extension agents, and directly to farmers and ranchers.  The grant recipients conduct their research, develops education and outreach activities, and write up their results. SARE publicizes those results, through reports and newsletters […]