Compiling a Database of Sustainable Producers for the Southern Rockies Region
The Sustainable Mountain Agricultural Alliance (SMALL) is a coalition of research and educational organizations in the Four Corners Region of the Southern Rockies. SMALL supports programs that encourage and develop sustainable agriculture. SMALL has diverse and regional scope, along with an established history of farmer-initiated research, education, and sustainable practice.
Based on a model developed by the Alternative Energy Resources Organization of Montana (AERO), SMALL conducted a survey of “sustainable producers” and their practices in the Southern Rockies region — Colorado, Utah, Northern New Mexico and Northern Arizona.
Some 157 farmers and ranchers, or 28% of those contacted, responded to the survey. The survey compiled information on the relative success of sustainable practices regarding soil fertility, water conservation, soil and moisture management, insect pests and weed control, rangeland management, livestock management, irrigation management, energy conservation, crop storage, diversification, and specialty marketing. In addition, the survey profiled each producer’s farm and included climatic data, size of farm, and crops grown.
The data base compiled from the survey responses is available to those producers surveyed, research and extension staff, and any producer interested in the transition to low-input agriculture.
The survey results were compiled and published as Sustainable Agriculture in the Southern Rockies: A Resource Directory of Producers and Practices. The Directory lists businesses, organizations, and periodicals and books recommended by the region’s sustainable agriculturalists. A copy of the Directory is available for $10.00 from the Telluride Institute, P.O. Box 1770, Telluride, CO 81435, phone: (303)728-4402.
(1)Identify producers using low-input sustainable farming practices in the Southern Rockies subregion; develop a data base of low-input techniques that have been tested in the field; and rate their relative success in the areas of soil fertility, water conservation, weed control, energy conservation, and other management considerations.
(2)Assist producers, both commercial and small-scale, interested in making the transition to low-input farming systems.
(3)Facilitate ongoing information exchange between producers already practicing low-input techniques.