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  • Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States
    control of noxious weeds regularly ranks as one of the highest agricultural concerns in the West Control methods commonly used such as herbicides and controlled burning have become more restricted leaving ranchers and land managers to seek alternatives Researchers ranchers and land managers have recognized that livestock grazing can be a valuable and selective noxious weed management tool In 2004 Jay Davison University of Nevada Cooperative Extension found that known techniques had not been summarized into a useful format This weakness had led to slow adoption of livestock grazing as a management tool Davison and colleagues designed a Western SARE Professional Development Program project Developing a Handbook for Utilizing Livestock as a Tool in Noxious Weed Control in Nine Western States EW04 004 to summarize information concerning the use of livestock grazing to control important noxious weeds in nine western states package the information in a readily useable format and to disseminate the information to targeted audiences Searching for a Solution Davison and his team set goals to Develop a list of noxious weed species for California Colorado Idaho Montana Nevada Oregon Washington Wyoming and Utah Collect review and summarize current knowledge about livestock grazing as a control method for each noxious weed species Present this information in a handbook and distribute to Cooperative Extension NRCS and others Evaluate program impact To meet the objectives Davison and his team conducted an in depth literature review interviews with researchers and a survey of grazing management practitioners The knowledge gained from these efforts was to be used to develop a handbook website and journal article and as part of presentations in all nine states The project was to ensure that Cooperative Extension NRCS and other personnel were more knowledgeable livestock grazing as a noxious weed control tool would become more effective and widespread and there would be a focal point for communication information and collaboration What was Accomplished Based on the information gathered Davison and his team published and distributed Livestock Grazing Guidelines for Controlling Noxious Weeds in the Western United States as a handbook and a CD as well as posting online The creation and distribution of the handbook led to increased levels of awareness and knowledge of livestock grazing as a weed management tool Evaluations show that recipients of the handbook are using it on a regular basis with 95 percent of users reporting it as somewhat to very useful and 92 percent of the users reporting increased knowledge and awareness of the subject The information in the handbook was shared with others by 61 percent of the users while 20 percent cited it 12 percent used it to design a grazing system for noxious weeds and eight percent used it to teach a workshop Impacts The handbook was distributed beyond the targeted audience with approximately 36 percent of the recipients of the handbook working outside of Cooperative Extension or NRCS The handbook was highlighted before approximately 240 Bureau of Land Management employees during the Integrated Pest Management classes taught

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Developing-a-Handbook-for-Utilizing-Livestock-as-a-Tool-in-Noxious-Weed-Control-in-Nine-Western-States (2016-05-01)
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  • Developing Regional Agritourism Networks
    the hospitality business and navigating the differing zoning ordinances and permitting processes in each of the 58 counties In addition not all agricultural professionals are familiar with the possibilities of agritourism or the existence of the multiple county wide agritourism organizations The development of regional and statewide networks of professionals involved in agritourism defined as a commercial enterprise at a working farm ranch or agricultural plant conducted for the enjoyment or education of visitors and that generates supplemental income for the owner would be very helpful in overcoming these challenges To address the gap in knowledge and partnerships they received PDP funding for their project Capacity Building Workshops Developing Regional Agritourism Networks for Agricultural Sustainability and Education EW10 004 Already they have seen positive developments such as widespread interest in organizing a statewide working group to help producers ag professionals and tourism professionals stay connected and work on policy and regulations Leff Hardesty and their partners aimed to increase all participants knowledge of agritourism challenges and opportunities to share best practices and innovative collaborations to develop regional networks connecting all partners to encourage easing of permitting and regulatory barriers to new agritourism operations and to encourage business planning risk management hospitality skill development and effective marketing by farmers and ranchers diversifying with agritourism To accomplish this they formed regional planning teams to help organize five regional workshops around the state with 355 participants total Four follow up gatherings with tours were organized email newsletters connected participants and a Facebook page was created to continue networking efforts Participants include producers interested in starting an agritourism operation current agritourism operators farm advisors and other ag professionals tourism professionals government staff and elected officials and agriculture community development and economic development organizational representatives In addition to the proposed working group and continued networking preliminary results from a survey eight months after the workshops reveal that 14 of participating producers hosted visitors for the first time 30 of participating producers have begun planning new agritourism activities 24 of participants have helped educate producers about agritourism and 92 of non farmer participants have helped promote agritourism since the workshops One California State Fair Art coordinator stated Since attending the workshop I have a heightened awareness of agritourism and have encouraged counties and organizations in counties to incorporate this into their displays The project s most recent event was held on November 4 2011 with funding from the California SARE PDP The Statewide Agritourism Summit proved exciting for its 120 participants with a keynote speech by Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross and presentations by leaders of the Apple Hill Growers Association California s oldest agritourism association and the director of the North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association In North Carolina the director Martha Glass works for the state department of agriculture She talked to audience about forming statewide agritourism associations which garnered much interest from the audience Reports back from regional breakout sessions at the summit called for more collaboration more public education about agriculture a supportive

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Developing-Regional-Agritourism-Networks (2016-05-01)
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  • Economic Evaluation of Alternative (low-water use) Crops for the Great Basin
    decision making tools developed to implement them She anticipated disseminating the information through seminars with all major learning methods covered for ag professionals The goal was that by the end of the project program participants would have increased knowledge and skills regarding sustainable agriculture as well as an enhanced ability to effectively deliver knowledge and skills to farmers and ranchers The project s objectives were for the participants to Understand the economic political and environmental benefits of reducing water use in agriculture Understand the basic agronomy of alternative crops available to producers in the Great Basin Understand the components of evaluating the economic feasibility of low water use crops Have the ability to use the IRRIG AID spreadsheet Create plans to introduce seminar curriculum and other SARE resources into producer programming Work one on one with producers to evaluate the economic feasibility of alternative low water use crops on their farm ranch Have the ability to provide an overview of the benefits of utilizing the IRRIG AID spreadsheet tool and demonstrate its use to producers Assist agricultural producers in implementing low water use crops on their farm ranch Assist producers with the measurement of changes in water use and resulting environmental improvements such as water and soil quality Assist producers with the measurement of changes in profitability and economic sustainability of alterative crop use Bishop and her team created a handbook of the curricula a user manual for IRRIG AID and a CD containing the IRRIG AID spreadsheet copies of the PowerPoint presentations for the five modules and a document with links to all websites cited in the curricula and links to further assistance These were distributed to all participating educators Workshops were held in various locations and were conducted by video in addition to the in person workshops What was Learned According to Bishop Ninety seven percent of workshop attendees would attend future workshops on agricultural water management and or alternative crops On a scale of 1 to 5 the average rating for curriculum content was 3 84 The average increase in knowledge gained over all curriculum subjects was 44 Of those responding to the six month follow up survey 43 have introduced workshop curriculum and other SARE resources into producer programming 39 have worked one on one with producers to evaluate the economic feasibility of alternative low water use crops on their farm ranch 35 assisted agricultural producers in implementing low water use crops on their farm ranch 35 assisted producers with the measurement of changes in water use and resulting environmental improvements such as water and soil quality 35 assisted producers with the measurement of changes in profitability and economic sustainability of alternative crop use and 82 have incorporated some of the material presented in the workshop into their operation job During the project 1 250 copies of the curriculum were distributed Eighty six ag professionals participated in the project s official workshops In addition program summaries and posters were presented at events for educators USDA agencies

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Economic-Evaluation-of-Alternative-low-water-use-Crops-for-the-Great-Basin (2016-05-01)
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  • Empowering Socially-Disadvantaged Farmers to Investigate Nitrogen Management in High-Value Vegetable Crops
    Home Learning Center From the Field Empowering Socially Disadvantaged Farmers to Investigate Nitrogen Management Empowering Socially Disadvantaged Farmers to Investigate Nitrogen Management in High Value Vegetable Crops Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Empowering Socially Disadvantaged Farmers to Investigate Nitrogen Management in High Value Vegetable Crops The Challenge The Agriculture and Land Based Training Association ALBA provides educational and business opportunities for farm workers and aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops grown on two organic farms in Monterey County California According to Nathaniel Harkleroad ALBA s Ag Education program manager in 2011 farmers in that county produced 23 800 tons of kale on 1 944 acres with farmer sales reaching nearly 18 000 000 5 310 tons of cilantro were produced on 1 309 acres with farmer sales of over 4 200 000 In 2013 ALBA farmers were on track to plant an estimated 100 acres of organic kale and cilantro each year However there was little guidance available regarding nitrogen N fertilization management practices for these crops especially using organic farming methods Because of this lack of guidance and the uncertainties regarding organic N fertility in general farmers rely on good observation on farm experimentation and their years of experience to optimize N fertilization Simultaneously due to concerns about nitrate contamination of water farmers are facing increased accountability of total N applied Harkleroad developed the Western SARE Professional Producer project Empowering Socially Disadvantaged Farmers to Investigate Nitrogen Management in High Value Vegetable Crops OW13 062 with the goal that ten socially disadvantaged SDA farmers would improve their capacity to frame ask and answer questions related to their crop production challenges Specifically these farmers would investigate improving N fertilization management for organic kale and cilantro crops by conducting basic on farm research Searching for a Solution The projects objectives were Educate 80 SDA farmers and agricultural professionals on conducting on farm research and nutrient management through workshops and field demonstrations Provide direct technical assistance 200 hours to ten core SDA farmers on implementing an experimental design related to N fertilization for organic kale and cilantro production and directly engage these same farmers in the project development implementation and outcomes Provide informational materials to 500 SDA farmers and agricultural professionals to raise awareness of ways to engage SDA farmer community in solving their own production Outcomes According to Harkleroad nine core SDA farmers conducted field trials on N fertilization rates with kale and cilantro with 100 SDA beginning and aspiring farmers and agricultural professionals receiving workshop trainings on performing basic on farm research and specific techniques for better N management Informational materials were disseminated to a further 500 SDA farmers and agricultural professionals Workshops held included Innovation and Experimentation and Organic Nutrient Management A field day on nitrogen management in cilantro was also held with participants observing replicated treatments in ALBA s demonstration field Two adaptive research reports one on kale and one on cilantro were published please see final report to download these

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Empowering-Socially-Disadvantaged-Farmers-to-Investigate-Nitrogen-Management-in-High-Value-Vegetable-Crops (2016-05-01)
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  • Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum
    Agriculture Historical Timeline Vision and Mission Home Learning Center From the Field Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Exploring Energy Efficiency and Alternatives Curriculum According to Sarah Hamlen Montana State University Extension and Milton Grieger University of Wyoming Extension Western producers profitability is closely linked to the consumption and production of energy resources Decisions made by these producers on energy issues have long term implications for the sustainability of agricultural production they assert To increase producers knowledge of energy issues Hamlen and Grieger led the E3A Project that 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 The project resulted in the creation of the E3A toolkit containing over 100 fact sheets plus lesson plans and supplemental materials Most fact sheets and resources can be found online at e3a4u info Topics included in the toolkit include Home Energy Efficiency Farm Energy Efficiency Small Wind Solar Photovoltaic Solar Hot Water Anaerobic Digestion Microhydro Electric Biodiesel Mobile Home Energy Efficiency Heating with Wood User Guide including basic energy fact sheets User Guide Supplement lesson plans press tools etc Leading educational events was another key element of the project both direct to consumer and train the trainer For example 40 direct to consumer workshops reached 1 217 people in Montana Various events in Montana and Wyoming that focused on small acreage sustainability local foods and agricultural expos included E3A energy programming Specific topics include a general overview of renewable energy options solar powered livestock watering small hydropower and farmstead energy Educators have offered informal renewable energy assessments conducted trainings and provided input into a general discussion of energy literacy such as where energy originates or how to read a utility bill Train the trainer workshops were held in Montana Wyoming and New Mexico with Extension personnel in 11 additional states receiving training as well In Montana 55 6 of faculty has been trained in teaching E3A Wyoming trained 18 8 of extended term educators and 7 4 of faculty in New Mexico were trained Montana NRCS trained their field office personnel in E3A as well As Hamlen and Grieger report this project provided an educational framework for engaging educators in energy education The information design lesson plans online collaboration tools and self contained nature of the project can be applied to energy education efforts in other subjects but can also be used for other agricultural education projects Hamlen and Grieger have recently received another Western SARE grant to develop additional content that is required to address specific agricultural producer needs offer additional training opportunities for other states desiring to utilize the E3A curriculum and enhance support options for currently trained educators to improve the effectiveness of programming for producers Want more information See the related SARE grant s EW10 012 Equipping Extension Educators to Address Producer

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Exploring-Energy-Efficiency-and-Alternatives-Curriculum (2016-05-01)
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  • Fighting Coffee Berry Borer in Kona Hawaii
    Beauveria bassiana formulated a Botanigard Mycotrol O that was being used in Columbia and it was licensed for use in February 2011 by the Hawaii Department of Agriculture through an emergency ruling At the time it cost 200 gallon The coffee berry borer CBB causes extensive destruction on the coffee seed reducing yields and quality of coffee and thus resulting in reducing the income of coffee growers and the sustainability of coffee producing areas Since the coffee berry borer had only recently invaded Hawaii management techniques were limited The information about Botanigard applications had been produced outside of Hawaii so the frequency of application and timing of first applications were being made arbitrarily Burbano Greco and a team of farmer participants created a Western SARE Professional Producer project Effectiveness of Beauveria Bassiana on Coffee Berry Borer in Different Agroclimatic Zones to achieve a greater understanding of the effect of B bassiana on the coffee berry borer with special reference to timing of applications and the effects of local environmental conditions on the effectiveness of the product Searching for a Solution The effectiveness of Botanigard was studied at three commercial coffee farms located at different altitudes on the island of Hawaii The objectives addressed by this project were determine the effectiveness of three rates of Botanigard as a control measure for the CBB at different agroclimatic zones in Kona determine the effectiveness of Botanigard upon the position of the CBB female in the coffee berry and disseminate and publish the results of this study Treatments were applied approximately two months after flowering at a time where coffee berry borer was observed initially attacking the coffee berries and several times through the study Samples were taken to assess the level of CBB infestation and presence of B bassiana What was Learned Burbano Greco states The overall mean percentage CBB mortality with five applications of Botanigard in four months was 49 22 She goes on to say the results indicate that B bassiana occurs naturally in the field but applications of the commercial fungus should be sprayed early at the fruit development cycle and at the early stages of CBB attack to increase beetle mortality However monitoring frequent harvest removal and destruction of berries after the harvest season need to be combined in an integrated management program Post Project Impacts A hurdle to overcome at the beginning of the project says Dave Bateman a farmer participant was a lack of trust from many coffee growers on the effectiveness of Botanigard Some of the farmers wanted to use a more toxic approach However by using the less toxic approach farmers get a higher value for their product as Japan and other export markets do not want coffee beans with residues The Western SARE funded project leveraged state task force grants With the positive research results and dedicated funding participation in the Botanigard application program is now greater than 50 of the Kona coffee farms Due to the increase of farmers using Botanigard the cost

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Fighting-Coffee-Berry-Borer-in-Kona-Hawaii (2016-05-01)
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  • Graduate Student Program From the Field
    Gila Watershed Partnership a multi stakeholder group including farmers ranchers as well as representatives from federal state and local government agencies municipalities and other concerned associations agreed to work with a University of Arizona research team to develop and test a participatory assessment approach to effectively mitigate land degradation Evaluating the Potential of Oyster Mushroom Compost Waste for Plant Parasitic Nematode Management Type Western SARE From the Field Profile Farmers in Hawaii manage plant parasitic nematodes which can cause significant yield losses in a number of crops through the use of nematicides Many farmers are looking for alternative methods for managing nematodes in the soil Shelby Ching had learned that edible mushrooms such as the oyster mushroom Pleurotus ostreatus have been known to create a toxin to incapacitate nematodes She hypothesized that oyster mushroom substrate can be utilized in the management of nematodes in the soil Ching developed this Western SARE Graduate Student project to develop an approach of nematode management using oyster mushroom compost waste that will be easily accessible to farmers with an added benefit of the production of edible mushrooms Exploring the Importance of Locally Sourced Food in Remote Regions Insights from Community Supported Agriculture in the Tanana Valley of Alaska Type Western SARE From the Field Profile Graduate student Anastasia Thayer while noting the good number of CSAs in the Fairbanks Alaska region recognized that with the exception of one CSA dating back to the 1990s the CSA movement in the area was relatively new There was a lack of information on the growing market So Thayer developed her project to build a collaborative research effort which would work closely with CSA farmers and members in the Tanana Valley of Alaska for the purpose of enhancing understanding of the local food market Questions at the center of this research included what factors lead to people joining local CSAs and which attributes contribute to higher revenues or more members for a farm Facilitating Integrated Weed Management in California Rice Predicting E spp and C difformis Emergence Across Heterogeneous Growing Environments Type Western SARE From the Field Profile California rice growers face increasing problems with herbicide resistant weeds in their fields Previous research projects focused on ecologically based integrated weed management approaches in a variety of cropping systems but none focused on rice systems In addition previous projects included spatial modeling components or the creation of decision support tools but again none included specific information on rice Impacts of Age on Residual Feed Intake and Its Effect on Reproductive Parameters and Profitability in Ewes Type Western SARE From the Field Profile Graduate student Rebecca Cockrum s Western SARE funded project was the first to use the GrowSafe feed intake system with sheep to measure residual feed intake RFI Her project attempted to address one unmet need of the sheep industry the reluctance to adopt RFI as a measure of feed efficiency due to limited research Information Flows along the Beef Supply Chain Information Exchange as a Strategy for Mitigating Increased Costs and Maximizing Producer Profits Type Western SARE From the Field Profile Due to information asymmetry in the beef supply chain there is no communication system to identify the feed strategies that produce high quality beef with lower production costs Sarah Lake graduate student at the University of Colorado considered that increasing the exchange of information throughout the beef supply chain could be a priority for the continued economic success of the beef industry With better access to information beef producers potentially could improve feed strategies and produce higher volumes of quality beef Investigating the Legume Green Fallow Alternative on North Central Montana No Till Operations Type Western SARE From the Field Profile Legume green fallowing LGF possibly can reduce dependence on inorganic N inputs and improve soil quality in systems with the high N demands and summer fallow practices However Northern Great Plains wheat producers have historically rejected LGF due to reduced yields in subsequent wheat crops from stored soil water depletion Montana State University researchers and graduate student Justin O Dea saw that more recent innovations of early LGF termination and no till practices could possibly strengthen LGF viability in the region especially given improved management of stored soil water Late Season and Overwintering Management of the Large Raspberry Aphid Type Western SARE From the Field Profile In the Pacific Northwest growers are facing damage by the raspberry leaf mottle virus RLMV which is transmitted by the large raspberry aphid The virus causes symptoms of crumbly fruit resulting in lowered fruit quality and reduced life of the field Through this project Pacific Northwest producers have been informed about aphid management during both fall and early spring Management Practices and Cover Crops for Reducing Tillage Enhancing Soil Quality and Managing Weeds Type Western SARE From the Field Profile When Douglas Collins Washington State University brought together a research and producer group they identified a lack of successful examples of reduced till practices for systems similar to theirs and in the maritime Northwest climate as a critical gap to making this system change Producers were specifically interested in identifying species of cover crops to use in organic reduced till systems planting and termination timing for cover crops weed management techniques and field equipment necessary to adopt these systems Consequently Collins and his team developed the project Selecting Management Practices and Cover Crops for Reducing Tillage Enhancing Soil Quality and Managing Weeds in Western Washington with the long term goal to increase organic farmer economic and environmental sustainability in western Washington through soil conservation in reduced tillage systems Managing A Challenging Subterranean Clover Pest Sustainable Control Using Insect Pathogens Type Western SARE From the Field Profile When attacked by the clover root borer red clover can only be raised for two years due to the reduction in yield causing economic hardship According to Oregon State University graduate student Anis Lestari Insect pathogens provide an effective means of suppressing pests but have received less attention compared with other biological control

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Graduate-Student-Program-From-the-Field (2016-05-01)
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  • Landmark Study Improves Nutrient Management for Montana Wheat Growers
    and Mission Home Learning Center From the Field Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency in Montana Wheat Improving Nutrient Use Efficiency in Montana Wheat Looking for something different Search the Learning Center Back to Search Results Montana Wheat Farmers Improve Nutrient Use Efficiency Through Research Collaboration 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 When nitrogen fertilizers are applied to the soil surface using certain application practices a significant amount can be lost when the nitrogen converts to ammonia gas and enters the atmosphere This process known as volatilization represents an economic loss for farmers and is a source of atmospheric pollution An on farm study lead by Montana State University Soil Scientist Richard Engel and funded by SARE has shed light on the urea fertilization practices that are most susceptible to nitrogen volatilization The team also studied nutrient losses from a green manure cover crop They developed recommendations that have improved the sustainability of wheat farms across Montana As a result of this work farmers statewide are saving an estimated 5 million per year in improved nutrient use efficiency and crop yield For the study the research team determined the fraction of applied urea fertilizer lost as ammonia gas when applied to winter wheat from late fall to early spring see ammonia gas collectors in the field at the video s 2 30 mark Based on their findings they recommend against surface applying fertilizer to frozen or wet ground particularly in the winter and instead to apply it in the spring on dry ground a day or two before significant rain They also recommend subsurface applications and the use of urease inhibitors Want more information See the related SARE grant s SW10 050

    Original URL path: http://www.westernsare.org/Learning-Center/From-the-Field/Improving-Nutrient-Use-Efficiency-in-Montana-Wheat (2016-05-01)
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