Introducing new Associate Board Directors, Mike and Carrie

new associate directors Mike Gerel and Carrie Sanneman

We’d like to introduce our two new Associate Board Directors, Carrie Sanneman and Mike Gerel! Both Mike and Carrie come to EMSWCD with extensive backgrounds in conservation, restoration and water quality. Carrie manages the Clean Water program at Willamette Partnership, and Mike is the Director of Programs at Sustainable Northwest. Learn more about Mike, Carrie, and the rest of our Board on our Board page.

The Launching of a New Farm

Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduates, Pete and Claire, enjoying the first season on their new plot of land in Canby, Oregon

Udan Farm, Headwaters Incubator Program’s first graduate

Pete and Claire St. Tulnoynum came to the Headwaters Incubator Program (HIP) in 2015 with a couple of seasons of farming under their belt, some produce management experience, and a good understanding of what makes for healthy soil. Using the Lloyd and Woodlawn Farmers Markets as their primary retail outlets, they were able to establish Udan Farm and transition their business onto leased farmland in just two years.

Participants in HIP are given up to five years to launch their business, but Udan Farm’s experience is essentially how the program is designed to work: a farm enters the program and works to refine production practices, establish markets, build farm networks, make investments, and then leaves for their own site (either leased or owned) to continue growing the operation. Or, as Pete explains, “Headwaters Incubator Program was extremely good for us. We got to experience what it was like to work together as a couple, we gleaned ideas from other farmers, and we were able to get the business running.” Read more

Managing invasive tansy ragwort weeds

Tansy weed (Senecio jacobaea) in bloom with cinnabar moth caterpillars feeding on it

It seems like tansy is everywhere this year, but its predators are not far behind…

Tansy is a dangerous pasture weed because it is poisonous to livestock, causing liver damage when ingested.

What to do if you have tansy on your property

We don’t recommend mowing, which can extend the life of the plant beyond its normal two years and increase the chance that it could get into hay. Some plants are beginning to seed now, so mowing now is more likely to spread infestations further.

Your best bet for removal is pulling or digging. Unfortunately, the ideal time to pull the plants was between May and June, after they bolted but before they flowered. At this point, it may be better to wait until next year to remove them. If you need to pull it this year, you’ll want to bag it and dispose of it in the trash so the seeds don’t spread. When left alone, the seeds disperse by wind, but they only travel an average of 10 feet from the plant, so letting it go to seed in place will not cause rapid spread.

Tansy predators making a comeback
Tansy has two main biological controls (“biological controls” in this context means natural predators that help control invasive plant or other pest populations) that feed on it when it starts to spread: the cinnabar moth and the flea beetle. Cinnabar moth caterpillars have been spotted around the district (see photos) this summer. Although less visible, it’s really the flea beetles that do most of the work, attacking the root crown, leaves, and leaf stalks during the rainy season. We will be looking for the small, golden flea beetles come October.


Read more

Erosion Solutions for Nurseries

Erosion Solutions for Nurseries

Funding available at 75% for projects such as:

  • Gravel farm roads
  • Grassed waterways
  • Filter strips
  • Cover crops
  • Field borders
  • Erosion control products (e.g. silt fence)
  • Sediment basins
  • Soil tests

Working together to protect your soil.

EMSWCD is excited to launch Erosion Solutions, a program specifically designed to help nurseries deal with the unique challenges that they face when it comes to soil erosion. We will work closely with each nursery to plan and fund custom solutions to address erosion from their fields. All without creating extra labor or interfering with operations.

Contact Aaron Guffey at (503) 935-5362 or aaron@emswcd.org for more information.

From our farmers: New ways of thinking about farmland transfers

This is a farmer-contributed post in our “From our farmers” series, written by Emily Cooper of Full Cellar Farm, who is enrolled in our Farm Incubator Program. In this piece, Emily explores three different ways farmland can be passed from one owner to the next.

As I finish up my third year at Headwaters, I have naturally started thinking about what comes next. Although my husband’s off-farm job makes it possible for us to get a conventional mortgage, the cost of land in the Willamette Valley is generally much higher than any loan (and resulting mortgage payments) we could afford. Leasing land, while attractive for financial reasons, frequently comes with strings attached, and presents the possibility of friction with a landowner-landlord who doesn’t fully understand what it means to share their property with a working farm.

For those reasons, I have felt a little bit stymied by the options open to me. Earlier this month, though, I had the chance to attend a session on non-traditional ways to secure land tenure at the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference. After the skillful presentation of Carrie Scrufari of Vermont Law School, I left with my head full of possibilities, questions, and a little more hope for the future of my farm. Read more

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