You may have heard of integrated pest management or IPM, but have you heard about integrated weed management or IWM? This approach to weed control follows the same basic principles that IPM does, except it is aimed at weeds and their particular ecologies and control techniques. Someone employing IWM may use herbicides, but will almost certainly carry out some other practices first in order to reduce the number of weeds to be killed and the increase the size differential between the crop and the weeds. These techniques include well adapted and competitive varieties of crops, good fertility, crop rotation, higher planting rate, time and depth of planting, planters that help seedlings get off to vigorous starts, mechanical cultivation, soil health management, certified seed systems, harvesters that remove weed seeds, reduced tillage, and more.
A great example of Integrated Weed Management can be viewed at the NDSU Carrington Research Extension Center. Here Research Specialist Steve Zwinger manages four acres under certified organic conditions and is dependent on an aggressive integrated weed management program to manage his experiments. He plants his small grains and peas at the recommended times, plants fairly densely, uses a harrow for preemergence and postemergence weed control in these drilled plots, uses a crop rotation that helps crops to grow vigorously, and searches for varieties that are competitive and productive under these conditions. As you can see in these photos, he has found the right mix to provide good weed control for organic peas and organic wheat. For those choosing to use herbicides, some of these IWM techniques could probably be integrated to help make your herbicide applications even more successful, safe, and cost-effective.
Here in North Dakota organic farmer David Podoll and NDSU Extension Specialist Roger Ashley are providing superior examples of how much cheaper and easier gardening could be and also models for what larger scale food production can do.
Experts in many other areas of agriculture are passing along information on crop rotations, reduced tillage farming, range management, marketing and other topics to educators via SARE sponsored travel scholarships and mini-grants for professional development. Young people, farmers and ranchers, and university researchers are also working on new ideas for sustainability for our region with SARE sponsored grants. Below is a list of the programs that SARE sponsors in the Dakotas and the North Central Region.
Information about Sustainable Agriculture is available via our links page to a host of organizations across the nation and around the world. National SARE has information about the program nation wide and also a list of books and free bulletins. The North Central Region SARE website covers grants and activities in the 12-state North Central Region and their newsletter, Field Notes, will keep you up to date on major events in sustainable agriculture.
You can also access information from the presentations made at the 2008 National SARE conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Call for Proposals for the Youth Educator Grants will be issued in late August and the proposals will be due in mid-November. Funding decisions will be made in March and funds made available sometime later in spring.
Graduate Student Grants: North Central Region SARE funds Graduate Student grants in Sustainable Agriculture for projects that address sustainable agriculture issues and are part of the student's degree program. NCR-SARE instituted the Graduate Student grant program in 2002 for officially registered graduate students (Masters and Ph.D.) enrolled at accredited colleges or universities. Projects must benefit agriculture in the North Central Region of the U.S. Fifty-states. NCR-SARE awards grant funds for grad student projects up to $10,000, and projects may last up to three years. A Call for Proposals will be issued in March, and Graduate Student Grant proposals are due in late May. The SARE Administrative Council announces the awards in August, and funds are typically available in the fall.
Farmer Rancher Grants: Producers know best when it comes to improving their systems. Whether they
need to limit off-farm inputs, reduce erosion, create more time for family
or community activities, learn marketing skills, or find other ways to
enhance their livelihoods, farmers and ranchers can turn to NCR-SARE for a
financial boost to achieve their goals. The first step in exploring
sustainable agriculture on-farm is to identify a research/education goal.
Then contact local agricultural groups, extension educators, NRCS personnel
or others, share ideas and invite participation. After identifying a
specific goal that solves a specific problem and also putting together a
good team, farmers, ranchers, and market gardeners can apply to North Central SARE for up to $7,500 or up to $22,500 for groups of three or more independent operations. The call for proposals will come out in August and proposals will be due in late November. Decisions will be made in March and funds made available later in spring. You can find the application and program description with
the link above and you can get assistance in crafting your proposal from the
Dakota SARE coordinator.
Research and Education Grants: Many agricultural researchers today acknowledge the connection between nature and what we eat , generating ideas on environmentally sound, economically viable, socially responsible agricultural systems. The USDA's North Central Region (NCR) Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program supports innovators with competitive Research and Education grants . Individual grants range from $10,000 to $200,000. These projects are carried out by collaborative teams working with producers to improve farm and ranch profitability while exploring social, economic and environmental aspects of whole systems. Calls for preproposals will be issued in September and these will be due in November. Invitations to write full proposals will be issued in late February and full proposals will be due in May. Funding decisions will be made in late July and funds made available in the fall.
These programs are for educators with Extension, NRCS, Vo-Ag, Soil Conservation Districts, and other agencies and organizations to help build competence in areas of Sustainable Agriculture.
Travel Support: Travel support of up to $1,000 is provided to qualifying educators so that they can attend field days, conferences or workshops and learn new information about sustainability that they willshare with their students and clients. These are available through the SARE program in North Dakota and are open while funds remain. Applications must be sent in at least 30 days before the proposed event. Successful applicants must take the on-line Sustainable Agriculture course and fill out a self-evaluation form before being reimbursed for travel expenses.
(Photo: These educators meet with David Podoll to learn about no-till gardening via North Dakota SARE Travel Scholarships)
Professional Development Grants: These grants from the North Central Region SARE program are for up to $75,000 for programs that will develop greater knowledge, competence, and activity about Sustainable Agriculture for agriculture educators across the region. The call for preproposals will be released in late march and preproposals will be due in late May. Invitations to submit full proposals will be issued in late June or July and full proposals will be due in late August. Funding decisions will be made in November and funds released to grant recipients in early spring.
Other Professional Development Opportunities: