Western SARE From the Field

Western SARE From the Field

Western SARE From the Field

Curious about a particular topic? Search all SARE products in the Learning Center.

Land Management Training for America's Fastest Growing Farmer Group

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

SARE-funded extension specialists in 42 states are making homestead farmers better stewards of their land.

New Mexico Grower Saved by the Sun

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Don Bustos has used solar energy to cut his winter greenhouse heating bill to almost nothing.

Rural Revitalization through Farm-Based Enterprise

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

For decades, John Allen has helped farmers develop business skills and strategies, improving their profitability and helping to revitalize rural communities.

Vegetables All Year in Northern New Mexico

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Thanks to the effort of two New Mexico State University faculty members and a SARE grant, the farmers of northern New Mexico are finding that vegetables can be successfully grown year-round more....

Low-Till Forage Production

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Jeff Mitchell of the University of California Kearny Agricultural Center, was awarded a Western SARE Professional + Producer Grant to evaluate and refine strip-till and no-till planting systems for corn forage production and no-till drill winter forage planting at the San Joaquin Valley in terms of crop establishment, weed control and profitability.

Water Use Efficiency in Tomatoes

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

This research project demonstrated that higher water use efficiency is possible with irrigation reductions of at least 25% in on-farm trials, with no affect on yields and fruit quality. This reduction could help keep ag land in production, especially in drought years

Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

To increase producers’ knowledge of energy issues, the “E3A Project” created energy education resources targeted at meeting the needs of producers and ag professionals by developing materials, web-based tools, an in-depth energy training and educational toolkits.

Graduate Student Program From the Field

Short profiles of Western SARE-funded graduate student projects in action.

Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency in Montana Wheat

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

A Montana State University team used on-farm research to identify fertilizer application practices for wheat that can minimize volatilization, or atmospheric nutrient losses, saving the state's farmers millions of dollars per year. "This was a landmark study because we knew we were losing nitrogen, we just didn't know how we were losing it," says farmer Curtis Hershberger.

Water Management in Sonoma County Grape Production

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

According to Karen Thomas of the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission, their regional wine grape growers needed “information on alternatives to frost protection using overhead sprinklers, on irrigation management strategies to reduce water use, and on Best Management Practices for water conservation when frost protecting and irrigating grape vines.” In order to provide this information, Thomas designed the Western SARE Professional + Producer project Water Management in Sonoma County Grape Production.

Training in Marine Ornamental Farming for Extension Professionals in Micronesia

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

According to Simon Ellis, director of the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP), one of the most successful aquaculture enterprises in the FSM and RMI to date has been farming of marine ornamental invertebrates for supplying home aquariums in the United States and Europe. Ellis designed his Western SARE Professional Development Program project, “Training in Marine Ornamental Farming for Extension Professionals in Micronesia,” with the assumption that the marine ornamental aquaculture industry in Micronesia could be improved by better skills, knowledge, and communication between practitioners.

Integrating Traditional Foods with Aquaponics in the Desert Southwest

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Farmer Aaron Cardona designed his project to research building a more affordable aquaponic system on his farm, which could be replicated by others in the region, creating an economic opportunity. The system would also produce culturally relevant food as a means of bringing back traditional foods into the local population’s diet; thus, improving the health of the community.

Western Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

To provide information on habitat enhancements to ag professionals, Eric Mader of the Xerces Society developed the Professional Development (PDP) project “Western Pollinator Conservation Planning Short Course.” This project aimed to supply in-depth pollinator conservation training to farm educators and resource conservation professionals in 11 Western States.

Vegetable and Weed Degree-day Models

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Pest managers are familiar with the concept of using degree days to predict pest outbreaks. Insects, like many other organisms, develop according to the temperature around them and degree days are a way to measure accumulated temperature. Plants – at least in part – also develop based on temperature, so a team in Oregon is adapting a degree-day modeling system built for pest management to make a tool for vegetable growers to better plan their planting and harvesting dates.

Market Opportunities of Conventional vs. GMO-free Broilers

Type: Western SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product

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. This project would help local poultry producers evaluate the viability of raising poultry with GMO-free feed.

Planting Flower Strips for Native Bees

Type: Western SARE Multimedia

Montana State University researchers discuss flower strips of nine native plants that provide habitat for native bees and an additional income source for farmers who can collect and sell the flower seeds.

Researchers Say Hill-Climbing Cows May Bring Big Benefits for Western Ranchers

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

If ranchers could select for the hill-climbing trait, the same way they select for any number of other genetic traits, it could have huge implications throughout the rugged West. They could graze more cows on mountainous ranches. Rangeland would be more productive and more evenly utilized. Riparian areas could be more easily protected. With Western SARE funding, Derek Bailey is working with a team of scientists located across the West to investigate this opportunity, including Milt Thomas, Scott Speidel and Mark Enns at Colorado State University, Juan Medrano at UC Davis, and Larry Howery at University of Arizona. 

Climate-Sustaining Agriculture

Carbon Footprints of Organic and Conventional Onions and Wheat

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Often, farmers are willing to make changes in their growing practices to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and their climate impact. Whether conventional or organic, agriculture can be a source of GHG emissions. Those farmers eager to modify their practices may lack the knowledge and tools to make effective choices. According to graduate student Cornelius Adewale, the use of carbon footprint calculators (CFC) based on farm practices, inputs, infrastructure, and processes can fill in these knowledge gaps. His Western SARE funded graduate student project focused on identifying opportunities to reduce farm GHG emissions in wheat and onion production and using that information to improve the organic carbon footprint calculator, OFoot. During the project, hundreds of Pacific Northwest farmers and scientists learned of OFoot or were trained in its use.

Growing the Field for Organic Conservation

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

As producers work to meet regulations under the National Organic Program (NOP) and become certified organic, they often apply conservation practices that align well with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) conservation activities, such as green manures, buffer strips, and rotational grazing. NRCS assistance is being sought by both new and established organic farmers to help meet resource stewardship goals. Yet, NRCS staff, as well as other ag professionals such as organic certifiers, need an improved understanding of natural resource conservation on organic and transitioning farms in Oregon and California.

Supporting Farmer Training Programs in the West

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

Incubator farms provide opportunities to beginning farmers, many of whom are immigrants or refugees, by providing access to land for a reduced fee and helping them develop both the skills needed to run a successful farm and a create a business plan. After graduation, these trained farmers have an increased chance of obtaining capital and land and in reaching their farm business goals. However, three times as many farmer training programs exist than there were just six years ago, with over 100 known programs in the U.S. Over 50% of them serve immigrant and/or refugee populations. These new organizations are also struggling to secure land and funding and to develop a framework for their programs.

Reducing Medusahead and Preparing the Land for Restoration

Type: Western SARE From the Field Profile

"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 and prepare the land for restoration.” This tool and other outcomes from their project led to the establishment of a larger scale project that will create an innovative grazing strategy to increase rangeland health and reduce the likelihood of crooked calf syndrome from over-ingestion of lupine.


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Energy Training Series

This series has been designed to provide educational training resources focused not only on the technical feasibility of bioenergy generation, but also on approaches and processes that assist communities in understanding the comprehensive implications of bio-based alternative energy.