Natural Resources / Environment

Reducing Runoff with Prairie Strips

Dan Stoffel worked with Sand County Foundation to plant prairie strips on his farm in southeast Wisconsin. With support from a SARE grant, Sand County Foundation was able to work with several producers to implement this practice which helps reduce runoff and attract pollinators.

Pioneer Agroforestry Farm Tour Video Series

A new video series on Midwest agroforestry is available from the Savanna Institute and North Central SARE. The six-part Pioneer Agroforestry Farm Tour Video Series features brief, detailed interviews with farmers who are advancing agroforestry in the Midwest. 

The American Kestrel: an IPM Friend for Michigan’s Fruit Growers

Cherry producers across the region are all too familiar with starlings, finches, voles, pocket gophers, and other animals that can wreak havoc on a cherry orchard by feeding on ripening fruit and developing roots or shoots. These little pests can be a big problem for Michigan’s cherry growers, who grow 75 percent of all tart cherries and 20 percent of sweet cherries in […]

Minnesota Researchers Spill the Beans on Pulses

When the United Nations announced that 2016 would be the “International Year of Pulses,” Craig Sheaffer wasn’t surprised. An agronomist with a bent toward organics, Sheaffer researches perennial native and introduced legumes, grasses, and woody species at the University of Minnesota (U of MN). He was well aware that pulses (also known as grain legumes), such […]

Non-Profit Brings Conservation Strategies to Women Landowners

The percentage of women who are sole landowners is rising, and the 2012 Census of Agriculture revealed that women farmers now control seven percent of U.S. farmland and account for three percent of sales. Bridget Holcomb, Executive Director of the Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) has been particularly concerned with women landowners, whose numbers […]

Ensuring Sustainable Agriculture in the Face of a Changing Climate

Ensuring Sustainable Agriculture in the Face of a Changing Climate: A Handbook of Resources contains materials that cover topics ranging from climate basics to communicating about climate change. The handbook includes science-based information on climate change relevant to sustainable agriculture with an emphasis on field crop agriculture.

Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota

Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms. The Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Project is a […]

Enhancing Crop Yield Through Wild Pollinators

In this journal article, SARE-supported research provides a general framework and examples of approaches for enhancing pollinator richness and abundance, quantity and quality of pollen on stigmas, crop yield, and farmers’ profit, including some benefits detected only through long-term monitoring. The authors argue for integrating the promotion of wild-insect species richness with single-species management to benefit farmers and society.

Environmental Stewardship and Conservation

Environmental stewardship and conservation are necessary in sustaining the future of any farm or agricultural business. Whether it be conservation training for agronomy professionals or recultivation of native grasses into rotational grazing, SARE has supported recent advances by producers, researchers, and professionals to make environmental stewardship and conservation a high priority in the agriculture industry.

Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices

The Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices helps to explain agroforestry practices and their applications. It is designed for natural resources professionals and landowners, and includes worksheets and exercises for use as an educational tool. Additionally, the manual is designed to assist in the decision process so that, when established or managed, the agroforestry practice is most effective at achieving the desired objectives.

Handbook for Agroforestry Planning and Design

The steps provided in the Handbook for Agroforestry Planning and Design will allow you to identify what agroforestry products can grow on your land, which of these products you can sell profitably, and how to develop basic business and marketing strategies. 

Women Caring for the Land: Improving Conservation Outreach to Female Non-Operator Farmland Owners Curriculum Manual

With the help of an NCR-SARE Research and Education Grant and funding from other sources, WFAN developed an award winning curriculum called Women Caring for the LandSM (WCL), which is designed to serve female non-operator landowners who are interested in learning more about conservation and other land management topics. The materials are also appropriate to teach youth about sustainable agriculture through hands-on conservation activity lesson plans.

Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate in Agricultural Drainage

Woodchip bioreactors, installed at the edge of agricultural fields, can remove 15 to 60 percent of the nitrate in tile-drained water annually. This innovative approach for protecting the water quality in Midwest streams and rivers is described in a new fact sheet available from Iowa State University.

Patch Burning for Cattle and Prairie: Doing Well by Doing Good

Kansas rancher Jane Koger, who raises 125 head annually in a cow/calf herd, is trying an ambitious new strategy to protect the rare prairie ecosystem on her ranch. The resulting "patch burning" system she developed with conservation organizations, along with help from a SARE grant and her Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field office, seems […]