SARE and ARS: Western Region
The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducts interdisciplinary research to enhance profit and stewardship on American farms of all sizes. SARE researchers are invited to participate in several ongoing research projects around the country.
USDA-ARS Systems Projects in the Western Region That Could Benefit from SARE Partnerships
Sidney, MT, Bob Evans, Northern Plains Agricultural Research Unit. Are primarily involved in looking for ways to diversify existing Northern Great Plains production systems to increase profitability and decrease risk. The unit has the capacity to conduct interdisciplinary research to develop improved soil, water, pest, and nutrient management strategies and production systems that protect the environment and which improve producer economic competitiveness in the world market. Their focus is on irrigated and dryland production systems including cereals, corn, and potatoes. The unit has a strong irrigation technology development component to increase production efficiency and reduce water and energy use. There are opportunities for research in developing alternative markets to stimulate rural development. Distance-to-market and infrastructure is a major limitation to alternative, non-commodity crop and value-added market development. For more information, see Northern Plains Agricultural Research Unit or contact Bob Evans, (406) 433-9496.
Pullman, WA and Pendleton, OR, Don McCool and Dan Long, respectively. Land Management and Water Conservation Research Unit and Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center. Long history of long-term research related to natural resources including soil and air quality. Research is directed across very diverse non-irrigated environmental conditions. The two units have recently developed a combined multiple location project addressing economically depressed wheat-based production systems in the dryland Columbia Basin region. Pullman has had connection with Washington State University economists, lots of opportunities for social sciences related to rural development. Energy issues have emerged related to sustainable straw utilization and energy crop production alternatives to sole wheat-based management. Alternative production strategies are being explored that integrate livestock into traditional wheat-based systems for increased economic return. For more information see Land Management and Water Conservation Researchor contact Don McCool, (509) 335-1347.
Prosser, WA, Hal Collins, Vegetable and Forage Crop Research Unit. Primarily focused on potato-based irrigated systems and looking for ways to enhance potato quality through systems solutions including incorporation of Brassica energy crops into rotations to suppress weeds and diseases. The unit has an excellent diversified discipline research team including nutrient management, soil microbiology, plant pathology, entomology, and genetics. There is potential to expand into organic production through integrated organic dairy, forage and crops systems. Research objectives are being development for potato and beans adapted to low input and organic production conditions. For more information see The Vegetable and Forage Crop Research Unit or contact Hal Collins, (509) 786-9228.
Corvallis, OR, Gary Banowetz, Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit. Integrated natural resource and ecosystem service research with expansion of bio-based energy components, including local-scale thermochemical conversion technology and incorporation into whole-farm production cycles. Primary focus has been based on specialty perennial grass seed-based production systems and the interface of management systems with wildlife habitat quality. Much of the work is done at the landscape level operating in a multiple-use landscape including forestry, production agriculture, urban centers, and industry. Has one of the five ARS economists specializing in multi-objective optimization. Strong ties to Oregon State University Departments of Economics, Agricultural Resource Economics, and Fisheries & Wildlife. For more information see Forage Seed and Cereal Research Unit or contact Gary Banowetz, (541) 738-4125.
Salinas, CA. Eric Brennan, U.S. Agricultural Research Station. Focus is on organic cool-season vegetable production systems, particularly developing strategies that incorporate cover cropping practices to improve weed and fertility management and costs of production. Production is limited by nutrient availability which reduces the ability of organic producers to compete with conventional producers for high-valued land leases. Research is integrated into commercial marketing chains, with focus on product quality and costs of production. For more information, see Salinas, CA. U.S. Agricultural Research Station or contact Eric Brennan, (831) 755-2822.