SIFT 2021: A Small-Scale Urban Intensive Farm Contributes to a Resilient Food System

Authors: John Wallace and Andrew Coggins, NCAT Agriculture Specialists

Read the full publication here:

NCAT’s Small-Scale Intensive Farm Training program (SIFT) operates a high-altitude urban demonstration farm in Butte, Montana, that is focused on production of food for the good of the community. This publication provides details on the role that the farm plays in educating and producing food for the community. It highlights ongoing cover crop experiments, fruit tree propagation, and water-conservation strategies at the farm, as well as construction of a new high tunnel.… Read the rest

Overcoming Barriers to Cover Crop use in Hazelnut Production

Authors: Shannon Cappellazzi, Abigail Tomasek, Nik Wiman

This project will collect and communicate information that will help producers incorporate cover crops into hazelnut production. We will conduct a survey to identify the major barriers for grower adoption and aggregate data on the methods and practices local producers are using to make cover crops work. We will conduct follow up interviews to create a partial budget analysis comparing net farm profitability after a change to new practices. We will perform in-field soil health assessments, and collect soil and tissue samples from interested growers’ fields. This analysis will provide data to demonstrate … Read the rest

On-Farm Cover Crop Use, Evaluation, and Data Sharing with the Western Cover Crop Council

Doug Collins, Extensions Specialist, Washington State University

On-Farm Cover Crop Use, Evaluation, and Data Sharing with the Western Cover Crop Council. This project supports on-farm cover crop demonstrations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Demonstrations will show how cover crop variety and management practices affect specific management goals. We are developing simple and systematic cover crop evaluation criteria for farmers. Evaluation criteria will assist in information sharing and be applied to on-farm demonstrations to effectively collate results. Funded by WSARE Research to Grassroots.

Read the rest

Soil health outcomes of sheep grazing of cover corp in vineyards

Amélie Gaudin, Associate Professor of Agroecology, Department of Plant Sciences

This research explores how biodiversity and animal re-integration through grazing cover crops impacts soil ecosystems and functions in vineyards. We are specifically interested in how sheep grazing impacts understory plant community productivity and species composition and how these interactions alter soil functions such as the formation and turnover of soil organic carbon and nutrients. Funded by CDFA

Contact: Kelsey Brewer, PhD candidate (

Read the rest

Cover crop best management guide for Almond systems

Amélie Gaudin, Associate Professor of Agroecology, Department of Plant Sciences

Cover crops can provide ecosystem services in almond orchards without compromising yield, but adoption remains low due to operational constraints and lack of data on tradeoffs. This project synthesizes research, experimentation, and on-farm experience to develop a set of preliminary best management practices for cover crop use in almonds. Funded by Almond Board of California

Contact: Vivian Wauters, Postdoctoral fellow (

Read the rest

Grazing Winter Cover Crops With Sheep to Improve Economic Feasibility in Annual Vegetable Systems

Amélie Gaudin, Associate Professor of Agroecology, Department of Plant Sciences

Sheep grazing of cover crops could provide new ways to offset the cost of winter cover crops in annual vegetable systems while enhancing soil health outcomes. This project compares soil health, foodborne pathogen risk and productivity of 3 winter management strategies (grazed cover crop, ungrazed cover crop, and fallow) in tomato systems. Funded by CDFA Healthy Soils Program (CA Climate Investments)

Contact: Sequoia Williams, PhD student (… Read the rest

Utah Cover Crop Research and Demonstration

Matt Palmer, Utah State University Extension, Sanpete County Director

Cover crops are being heavily promoted by government agencies and other organizations, yet little replicated research on cover crops has been conducted in Utah. This study proposes a multi-county project to collect replicated data on how cover crops perform and how they influence forage and soil quality in Utah. Funded by USU Extension Grant.… Read the rest

Evaluation of Cover Crop Species for their ability to mitigate soil compaction in an annual rotation

Sarah E. Light, Agronomy Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension

Three species (white mustard, safflower, and triticale) are being evaluated for their ability to mitigate soil compaction. This three-year trial is evaluating winter cover crops grown in a summer annual rotation. Soil compaction measurements, as well as other indicators of soil physical properties, are being collected. This project is funded by the CDFA Healthy Soils Program.… Read the rest