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Seed-based webinar follow-up #3 What suggestions do you have for convinc...
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5/4/2017 at 8:32:23 AM GMT
Posts: 38
Seed-based webinar follow-up #3 What suggestions do you have for convinc...

Seed-based webinar follow-up #3

What suggestions do you have for convincing grape growers to adopt restorative methods? I did my masters thesis on native bunch grasses in vineyards as a cover crop in arid eastern Washington. Growers have many reasons for a cover crop, one main one is dust reduction, ability to mow, and water conservation. I used seed from a local business specializing in using local genetically appropriate seed. I used a direct seeder and sowed in December and had  great germination success. I am now looking for vineyards to do a larger trial.

Directed to: Stephanie (and others)



5/5/2017 at 7:59:17 AM GMT
Posts: 4

Farming with cover crops takes its own skill set and to be successful, farmers need to understand that the timeframe to see and make change is slower than with agrochemical or industrial farming practices. Farmers also need to have the expectation that they’ll be on a learning curve as they develop the skills and equipment to farm with cover crops. Trial or model farms can be really valuable to demonstrate to newcomers the benefits and challenges of using cover crops. Identify and collaborate with one or a few interested/motivated farmers to use parts of their farm for your trials and research.

Another requirement for success is that a farming practice has an economic benefit. This will partially depend on the timeframe the farmer is considering (short-term or mid-term or long-term). Government programs (Farm Bill in the US, the CAP in Europe) support conservation, but to a limited extent. Third-party certification is an approach that is growing in the olive oil sector in Europe. Growers can get a higher value for their product from consumers who want to consume from farms with sustainable or conservation practices or wildlife benefit etc. Look into what exists in your area or consider developing a certification scheme. Farmers who grow a value-added product will also need to be savvy and involved in marketing the product, in contrast with farmers who grow and sell the harvest as a bulk commodity.
Another business model which may work for some farms is agritourism, to showcase the beauty and diversity of the “wilder” orchards/vineyards.
Best wishes in your work. I’m interested to talk more with you and will follow up via email.


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