top of page

Northwest Grain Growers Promotes 'Climate Smart Wheat'

In a grant program accepted under the USDA's “Partnership for Climate Smart Commodities,” Northwest Grain Growers is joined with three other entities, GO Seed (program lead,) Agoro Carbon Alliance, and the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation. The partners are committed to promoting 'Climate Smart Wheat', throughout the PNW for growers who practice existing-or new carbon-positive farming methods. The program began in the fall of 2023 and will continue until the fall of 2028. GO Seed is based in Salem,OR and specializes in breeding and research of improved grass and cover crop varieties as well as seed production. Agoro Carbon Alliance will work with farmers ready to start implementing practices expected to increase soil carbon and get them signed up in the voluntary carbon market. CTUIR is the primary production partner working with GO Seed to expand the cover crop seed production into the Columbia Basin. NWGG will be responsible for marketing the Climate Smart Wheat. Dr. Shannon Cappellazzi, Director of Research for GO Seed, shared insight into this revolutionary new farm program. “This program will allow Northwest Grain Growers to build market value for their members who have a long history of good farming practices. The benefits for the farmer will be the recognition of their regenerative cropping systems and potentially higher prices paid for climate smart wheat,” said Cappellazzi. Go Seed has hired a soil scientist to sample soils and conduct lab tests. The soil tests will verify and compare enrolled farm's carbon soil tests to a local baseline data point. VERRA methodologies provides carbon market guidelines. The soil tests will measure carbon and bulk density which are used to calculates the soil carbon stock to a depth one foot. They will also be using intact coil cores to measure differences in water holding capacity. A 6 inch by 3 inch diameter plastic sleeve is pounded into the soil, removed, capped and brought to the lab. The lab tests will indicate the water content at saturation, field capacity and at wilting point. “Soils differ in their inherent capacity to hold water, largely based on soil texture. by Abby Durheim Nebraska Farm Bureau Moving cattle across a pasture from the click of a button on a phone and not building miles of cross fence for rotational grazing might seem like a fever dream, but with the help of Corral Technologies that dream is becoming reality. Corral Technologies is a Nebraska based company that builds an invisible fence for cows without having to bury any wires underground. Cattle wear a collar that has GPS capabilities that connects back to an app on a phone, computer or tablet. Ranchers are then able to draw boundaries, simulating a cross fence, from their devices that will be sent to the collars. The collars keep the cows inside the boundary and report data on the animals. Jack Keating, founder and CEO of Corral Technologies, is a mechanical engineer who grew up on his family’s cattle ranch north of Atkinson, NE. After years of fixing fence with his dad, Matt Keating, the pair talked about how great it would be to not have to build miles of fence and still be able to maximize the utilization of their pastures. “This technology takes a lot of manpower out of the ranching process while providing real-time data on a herd. Users can see each cow’s location, a heat map of their grazing patterns and their travel paths over time, allowing for better utilization of resources,” said Keating. Like invisible fences for dogs, Corral Technologies uses a variety of directional stimulations to keep cows within the boundaries. Keating explained that typically within two weeks, cattle are trained and accustomed to wearing collars, staying within the boundary and moving from pasture to pasture. “Ultimately, ranchers will be able to move cows from the palm of their hand. Using the app on their phone, users can select the herd and the pasture they want the cattle to move to and the app will autogenerate a route for the cows to be guided along. Click move, and within a few hours, the cows will be in their new boundary,” said Keating. See CORRAL, Page 8. However, the amount of carbon and the soil structure built by soil organisms has a strong influence on whether that soil is reaching it's full capacity. said Cappellazzi. “Many of the farmers at NWGG have been in no-til production for 20-30 years, they see the benefits and are happy to share the data that demonstrates why their system is more resilient.” The GO Seed website said the Federal Government has committed $5 billion to increase cover crops grown in crop rotations with a goal of adding 10 million acres. The U.S. needs to increase production of cover crop seeds to keep the seed cost reasonable for farmers. This pilot program will help meet the need for additional cover crop seed production and encourage more climate smart farming practices. “We presently have 20,000 verified acres and hope to have 30,000 enrolled acres to harvest this fall,” said Cory Christiansen, NWGG representative.” We have talked to 5 West Coast grain exporters that are interested in Climate Smart Wheat targeting the Japanese market. Ten milling companies, two feedlots andtwo brewing companies also showed interest in purchasing Climate Smart Wheat”. There could easily be 100,000 acres ready to be signed up for next year. The limiting factor for the inaugural year was having humans ready to follow accredited soil sample procedures. Cappellazzi hopes to train fieldmen at local dealerships to conduct soil samples for their growers in the near future. Getting Started: Sign ups are closed for this year's crop but opportunities will be available next year and throughout the five year window provided by program. Steps required include working with GO Seeds to: •Determine eligibility and best fit in the program •Provide management history for climate modeling •Sampling your fields •Track shipments with NWGG Agricultural producers today are asking “How can I add value to the agricultural commodity being produced on my farm and/or ranch?” Consumers are demanding and willing to pay higher prices for agricultural commodities produced with verified sustainable farming and livestock practices. NWGG should be able to successfully market “Climate Smart Wheat” to willing buyers. Enrolled Climate Smart Wheat farmland acres should continue to increase, with accredited soil sampling. This is an exciting new program for producers to consider! You can reach out to Cory Christiansen @ NWGG (509-525-6510) or Dr. Shannon Cappellazzi of GO Seed (503-593-7434) if you'd like more information. The program website www.goclimatesmartseed. com and website have additional Climate Smart Wheat information also

8 views0 comments


bottom of page