Native Seed Production for Crop Diversification

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2004: $171,121.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Region: Western
State: Colorado
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Ron Godin
Colorado State University - Rogers Mesa Res. Ctr.

Annual Reports


  • Additional Plants: native plants


  • Crop Production: continuous cropping, fertigation, nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development
  • Pest Management: chemical control, field monitoring/scouting, physical control, cultivation
  • Soil Management: soil analysis
  • Sustainable Communities: partnerships, sustainability measures


    Restoration efforts on public lands in western Colorado, specifically on the Uncompahgre Plateau, have placed a high demand on the limited supply of native seed. This project was undertaken to determine if perennial native species from the Uncompahgre Plateau could be grown under cultivated conditions by local growers to supply local, state and federal agencies with native seed. Initial results were mixed but improved as the project progressed. The growers are optimistic of the income potential for larger scale plantings. The information gained from this project shows that native seed production can be a profitable addition to growers’ crop diversification.

    Project objectives:

    (1) Sustain long-term agricultural production by enhancing crop diversification and economic sustainability. The Project will strive to use both producer and researcher feedback to improve native seed cultivation practices to continually improve production practices that enable sustainable long-term production and economic viability for producers. The inclusion of native seed production will aid in crop diversification and economic sustainability by increasing income compared to traditional alfalfa and grass hay production.
    (2) Rehabilitate and restore natural ecosystems on the Plateau through the use of locally produced native plant seeds. The outcomes generated by this Project, locally produced native seeds, cultivation methods for native seed production and establishment of producer-buyer relationships, will greatly aid in restoration on the Plateau. Initially, restoration will be on a watershed basis and later growing to the entire Plateau. Eventually, it is anticipated that the region will become a seed source for restoration efforts within the entire Colorado Plateau.
    (3) Enhance viability of long-term seeding projects by using locally produced and adapted species. The Project will help to insure and sustain a native seed production base for long-term restoration and revegetation efforts on the Plateau by working together with local producers and creating a market for locally produced native seed.
    (4) Provide the information, knowledge and infrastructure for raising native seeds commercially for an existing high-demand market. Research outcomes and producer feedback will be incorporated into the existing knowledge base to improve cultivation methods and optimize native seed production. Research and producer results on improving production will be disseminated to producers at field days and through reports and presentations.
    (5) Conduct research of native seed production and the transfer of production information to local growers. Moreover, seed producers will be an important source of information and knowledge for researchers as the producers monitor their crop production and provide specific crop information for adoption into the production system.

    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.