Designed to bring together no-tillers and members of the environmental community, an early summer Pacific Northwest tour demonstrated the benefits of direct seeding and the challenges faced by growers moving to this crop production system.
The 2-day Quality Of Life Direct Seed Cropping Tour brought together 70 no-tillers and representatives from environmental groups, government agencies, farm groups and legislators.
Starting with an overview of the region dating back thousands of years, the history of no-till in the area and the current “retooling of agriculture,” the tour visited farms that receive only 9 to 20 inches of annual precipitation. Tour topics included air and water quality, soil, wind and water erosion, sedimentation, soil quality, carbon sequestration, wildlife habitat, economic concerns, agronomic challenges, benefits of direct seed cropping systems, transportation issues, crop diversity, marketing, building rural economies and more.
Funded primarily by the Bullitt Foundation and hosted by the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association and the Washington Farm and Forestry Education Foundation, the tour had two primary objectives:
1 To demonstrate that direct seed cropping systems benefit the environment without taking agricultural land out of production.
2 To provide a forum for individuals from diverse groups who play a critical role in agriculture and the environment, to interact and find new ways to work together toward common goals.
“The tour met and exceeded our objectives in the short term,” says Dave Roseleip of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation. “This event will be a springboard for farmers and members of the…