Pacific Northwest no-tillers will soon be taking advantage of a certification program that will set them apart from other grain growers. And since they’re already no-tilling successfully, many are already well on the way to qualifying for this program aimed at demonstrating sustainable farming practices to consumers.
The Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association’s (PNDSA) no-till certification program was developed with a $100,000 grant from the state of Washington’s Department of Ecology. The program’s goal is to increase the number of direct seeders (no-tillers) and educate growers, landlords and the general public on the benefits of direct seeding through the six initiatives shown in the box at right.
The idea for a potential no-till certification program was introduced to growers at the 2012 PNDSA conference. The program has been developed with a limited group of farmers, government agency personnel and several regulatory agencies to develop criteria for the program, says Ty Meyer, the program’s leader and production ag manager with the Spokane County Conservation District in Spokane, Wash.
When more details were announced at the 2013 PNDSA winter meeting, 75% of attendees indicated an interest in qualifying.
With an official go-ahead for the program, Meyer and others are starting to work on staffing and implementing the program with an additional grant from Washington’s Department of Ecology.
The goal is to define and certify farming strategies that improve water, soil and air quality, wildlife habitat, conserve energy and reduce the carbon footprint while proving to be economically viable and sustainable.