Regenerative Agriculture: connecting soil health, native bee habitat, and climate resilience through on-farm management strategies

Project Overview

WRGR19-03
Project Type: Research to Grass Roots
Funds awarded in 2019: $30,886.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2021
Host Institution Award ID: G137-20-W7507
Grant Recipients: Our Family Farms; Oregon Climate and Agriculture Network (OrCAN)
Region: Western
State: Oregon
Principal Investigator:
Elise Higley
Our Family Farms

Commodities

Not commodity specific

Practices

  • Crop Production: pollinator habitat, pollinator health
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity, habitat enhancement
  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    We will utilize SARE research to illustrate the benefits of strategic management decisions that can have multiple benefits to the environment, the farmer’s budget, and the greater community. This project will focus on and promote agricultural practices relevant to Oregon producers that effectively keep carbon-rich materials in the soil and support native bee nesting habitat, such as reduced tillage, cover cropping, perennial plantings, additions of organic matter, and leaving crop stubble.

    We will develop and provide educational materials focused on climate resilience, carbon sequestration and native bee health, and conduct outreach at Oregon’s Small Farms Conference.  And we will host events including on-farm workshops with demonstrations that provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities that connect soil building strategies with those that support native bee habitat, and help create climate resilience for Oregon farmers.   

    This project will provide a clear path from research to education and outreach throughout Oregon. By supporting farmers with peer-to-peer learning opportunities, educational events that also demonstrate on-farm practices, and user friendly resources farmers will be better equipped to make informed decisions about how to plan for climate resilience. The goal is to show that by stacking functions, farmers are able to support native bees and other insects, improve soil health, sequester carbon in the soil, and better prepare their farm for weather extremes that may include floods and drought. We plan to promote these practices and associated resources as widely as possible.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    September-December 2019    

    Collaborate with partners, confirm partner roles, identify timeline and plan educational farm events

     

    January-March 2020

    Plan on-farm events, including on-farm demonstrations to share management strategies

    Develop and print educational tri-fold handout about managing for climate, soil and pollinators for distribution at events and through farmer networks

    Print Oregon native bee field guide, “Common Bee Pollinators of Oregon Crops" (Oregon Dept. Ag.)

    Print Oregon State University, Best Management Practices, Soil bulletin, 2016

    Print “Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches” (SARE)

    Participate as a Vendor at the Oregon Small Farms Conference to distribute educational materials listed above and promote upcoming on-farm events

     

    April-June 2020

    Host 2 peer-to-peer, on-farm events that feature demonstrations and  educational materials listed above

    July-August 2020       

    Schedule, coordinate, and host a public education on-farm event to increase basic native bee identification and habitat enhancement skills for farmers and community members. Distribute educational materials.

    September-October 2020

    Host 2 more peer-to-peer, on farm educational events

    November-December 2020    

    Post short demonstration videos to www.ourfamilyfarms.org

    Evaluate project and survey participating producers

    Contribute data to Oregon Bee Project

    Objectives:

    Plan, coordinate and host         4 on farm workshops including demonstrations

    Create                                      2 short video demonstrations from farm workshops to post online

    Plan, coordinate and host         1 public education event

    Develop and distribute             1 tri-fold brochure focused on farm management practices

    Distribute educational materials listed above

    Further develop a network of farmers concerned about climate resilience with OrCAN.

    Educate farmers and community members across Oregon about the connections between climate resilience, soil building, and native pollinator habitat enhancement.

    Develop and track participants and farms interested and engaged in citizen science efforts related to tracking native bee populations on farms. Contribute this data to Oregon Bee Project.

    Share information about management strategies that build soil and create habitat for pollinators through partner networks.

    Share demonstration videos from farm workshops online and with partner organizations.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.