Enhancing No-Till and Conservation Farming Success Through the Use of Case Studies, Conferences, and Workshops to Facilitate Farmer to Farmer Learning in The Pacific Northwest

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 1997: $125,842.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2000
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $13,185.00
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Tim Veseth
Washington State University, Dept. of Crop and Soil Sciences

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: barley, canola, sunflower, wheat
  • Vegetables: lentils, peas (culinary)


  • Crop Production: conservation tillage
  • Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns
  • Natural Resources/Environment: soil stabilization
  • Pest Management: chemical control, competition, disease vectors, prevention
  • Production Systems: transitioning to organic
  • Soil Management: organic matter, soil quality/health


    Great interest in no-till and minimum tillage exists in the Pacific Northwest due to recent changes in federal farm programs, increasing economic pressures, and the ever present need to protect environmental quality and enhance cropland productivity. Although about 60% of the dryland acreage in the PNW is still conventionally tilled, the region is fortunate to have an increasing number of growers who, based on available research and their own experiences, have developed and implemented highly successful no-till and minimum tillage programs. Their "working knowledge" of these farming systems can provide invaluable guidance to other farmers who are considering adapting them to their farms. The purpose of this SARE project was to improve the adoption of no-till and conservation tillage practices by sharing the success and field based wisdom of these established practitioners with other farmers and agricultural advisors.

    Sixteen case studies in a Pacific Northwest Extension bulletin series have been developed that highlight successful farmer implemented no-till and minimum tillage farming systems. These cases include details of the grower's farming practices and equipment; decision making factors affecting the adoption, implementation and continued use of these practices; challenges faced by the growers and strategies used to address them; economic analyses; and, when appropriate, summaries of research data that supports an aspect of the growers operation (e.g., continuous cropping vs. wheat/fallow). The first three case studies were published in September 1999. The next six were published between January and April 2000. The last seven are in press or layout draft stage and should be printed by December. "Train the trainers" workshops, featuring the case studies, were conducted for NRCS and conservation district staff in fall 1999. The 1998, and 1999 Northwest Direct Seed Cropping Systems Conferences, each attended by over 900 growers and Ag support personnel, provided another forum for farmer to farmer learning about no-till and min-till systems. By sharing the working knowledge of experienced growers, we hope to enhance the success of no-till and minimum tillage farming in our region.

    Project objectives:

    This project seeks to improve the adoption of no-till and conservation tillage practices by sharing the success and field based wisdom of established practitioners with other farmers and agricultural advisors.

    Objective 1. Produce detailed case studies of successful farmer implemented no-till and conservation tillage farming systems and distribute as extension publications.

    Objective 2. Organize a farmer to farmer conference to highlight and discuss successful no-till and conservation farming systems in use throughout the dryland cropping areas of the Pacific Northwest.

    Objective 3. Organize "training of trainers" workshops to enhance the capacity of extension educators, NRCS personnel, and farmers to assist farmers in identifying and implementing no-till and conservation tillage farming systems appropriate for their environmental and economic practices.

    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.