Livestock

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 […]

Integrating Small Goat Herd Production with Fruits and Vegetable Production

Most small family farms produce and market more than a single crop from their farm. Growing multiple crops promotes benefits coming from both biologic and economic diversification. This report resulted from a project in Hawaii with the purpose to develop a diversified production system by integrating the farm’s goat production enterprise into a crop production […]

On-Farm Internship Training Binder

The Placer Ag Futures Project was conceived as a response to critical issues affecting local agricultural sustainability. This project was intended to help grow a new crop of agricultural professionals that are trained in sustainable agricultural practices. One part of the Ag Futures Project was the on-farm internship training. The summer internship program consisted of […]

Moooooving Forward Together

This case study is a total of 39 graphically designed pages and includes an overview of beef to school in Montana; school, processor, and producer needs; an infographic of the beef lifecycle; an infographic of common beef to school partnerships; demographics of Montana schools, producers, and processors; challenges and opportunities for beef to school in […]

Market Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers

Berggren Demonstration Farm (now Phoenix Farm Enterprises, Inc) performed a side-by-side comparison of pasture-raised Cornish Cross broilers fed on GMO-free feed vs. conventional feed. Three batches of birds were raised under experimental conditions, tracking feed costs, labor inputs, transportation, and dressed weight at processing. At point of sale, consumers were informally surveyed to evaluate preferences […]

Collaborative Grazing for Sage-Grouse: Centennial Valley

This video portrays the Collaborative Grazing for Sage-Grouse Project in the Centennial Valley focusing on understanding how grazing management affects sage-grouse survival. Better understanding will be important to increasing sage-grouse populations.

Biological Soil Crusts

Cheryl McIntyre investigates the influence of biocrusts on the establishment of native perennial grasses and cheatgrass and the conditions under which biocrusts might make rangelands more resistant to exotic grass invasion, and thereby serve as a potential restoration tool for producers.

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 […]

Fresh Growth Podcast

Fresh Growth: Approaches to a More Sustainable Future from Western Ag Practitioners introduces you to farmers and ranchers from around the western United States who are finding innovative sustainable practices that enrich the natural resources we all care about. These successful multi-generational operations experiment with new ideas and are making it pay. Listen in as […]

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. 

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

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 […]

Oregon’s Outback

Oregon’s Outback is a Sustainable Rangeland-Based Beef Production Video Library that highlights best management practices for cow-calf producers and agricultural professionals.

Anaerobic Digestion Webinar Series

A series of five free webinars with Washington State University researchers and their collaborators sharing findings as they strive to quantify the climate, air, water, nutrient and economic impacts of integrating emerging, next-generation technologies within anaerobic digestion systems on U.S. dairies.

BioEarth Webinar Series

A series of four free webinars with Washington State University researchers affiliated with the BioEarth research initiative sharing findings related to climate change impacts on Northwest U.S. water resources, nutrient cycling, and managed and natural ecosystems.

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.

Managing for Wild Bees

Pollination is a critical component of the crop production cycle, directly contributing to reproductive success for pollinator-dependent crops. Graduate student Hillary Sardinas evaluated the ability of hedgerow restorations to augment hybrid sunflower pollination by the native bee community. She also investigated whether rates of nesting were increased in fields adjacent to hedgerows, as well as whether the presence of hedgerows enhanced the diversity and abundance of the native bee community at different distances into fields.