Commodities

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 […]

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.

Farmer and Rancher Research in the West

Making changes on the farm or ranch involves taking risks. One or two years spent experimenting can lead to a financial hit too difficult to recover from. That’s where Western SARE’s Farmer/Rancher and Professional + Producer grants help out. Grantees, like the ones highlighted in this report, come up with the possible solution to a problem they face on their farm or ranch, propose a way to research the idea, and then Western SARE provides the critical support needed to experiment.The projects explore sustainable solutions to problems through on-farm research, demonstration, and education. It is expected that the results are shared with other producers. The highlights you’ll read here are just a fraction of the creative projects attempting to solve real-world problems the grants programs have funded. 

IPM for Coffee Berry Borer

When the coffee berry borer arrived in Hawaii 2010, Suzanne Shriner had a hard conversation with her parents. “I sat down with them at the kitchen table and told them we might have to get out of the coffee business,” she remembered. “It was a pretty sober moment, and it wouldn’t have been a good […]

Winter 2018 Simply Sustainable

In this Issue:

  • Building Capacity for Blackfeet Farmers
  • Training for Micronesian Extension Agents
  • A New Breed of Ranchers
  • Agritourism Opportunities
  • Benefits from Owls 
  • And more

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 […]

Students Breeds Beans for Organic Farming

Graduate students at the University of California, Davis, have begun field tests on very rare commodities: high-yield, disease-resistant bean varieties that can thrive on organic farms.    “Most crops—about 95 percent—have been bred for conventional farming and can be difficult to grow in organic systems,” said Travis Parker, a Ph.D. student in plant biology who is […]

Reducing Medusahead and Preparing the Land for Restoration

“Ranchers are hurting.” That one thought is why Kip Panter, Research Animal Scientist at the USDA-ARS in Utah, is passionate about the collaborative work he, other Utah-based researchers, extension professionals, and ranchers have led to restore degraded grasslands. The inspired project team, studying at three ranches, found a “really good economical way to reduce medusahead […]

California Strawberry and Research on Compost for Strawberry Health

California strawberry production is at a pivotal point, struggling with new plant diseases due to the phase-out of the fumigant methyl bromide. This video explores the current issues facing strawberry growers in California and explains the use of compost to suppress disease and promote strawberry plant health.

Tools and Approaches for Measuring Ecosystem Services in California’s Grasslands and Oak Woodlands

Ecosystem services are the benefits humans receive from our natural ecosystems and working landscapes. These services include: forage production, erosion control, soil fertility, water storage, flood control, carbon storage, fire control, pollination, water purification, air purification, and others.

While there is increasing interest in managing landscapes for multiple ecosystem services, very few management and restoration projects monitor their impacts, and thus we have little information on the effectiveness of management practices on ecosystem services.

This project developed a monitoring handbook to increase monitoring efforts across management projects and to provide more consistent types of measurements across studies, which will make monitoring measurements more directly comparable.