In September, the Washington State University (WSU) Extension, Oregon State University (OSU), the Pacific Northwest Agroforestry Working Group, and the USDA National Agroforestry Center hosted a workshop for natural resource professionals in Spokane, Wash., that focused on agroforestry in the region. Participants were primarily staff from conservation districts, but also included private consultants, state agency staff and extension professionals. Workshop speakers included staff from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), WSU Extension professionals, OSU faculty, U.S. Forest Service staff and employees from the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
The workshop consisted of a day in the classroom, a day in the field and an optional day focused on the NRCS technical service provider (TSP) program. Classroom day topics included windbreaks and shelterbelts, soil health, silvopasture and grazing management, pollinators in agroforestry systems, alley cropping, riparian buffer considerations, plant materials, and tribal nursery and agroforestry programs.
On the field day, participants visited Lazy R Ranch, a fourth-generation cattle and sheep ranch near Spokane that uses holistic grazing methods. Marketing Opportunities Organizer Beth Robinette described how she manages her land, including the portions that are forested. The group had productive discussions related to soil health, hazardous fuels reduction, marketing, and forage production under different weather and climate conditions.
In the afternoon, the group visited a living snow fence, designed to reduce snowdrifts, located on Route 25, north of Davenport, Wash. In this location, snowfall was drifting along the highway, creating hazardous conditions for wintertime highway travel, requiring additional snowplow clearing, and impacting the farm operation. This living snow fence was planted in 2003 with support from NRCS, the WSU Extension, the Lincoln County Conservation District, state agencies, the National Agroforestry Center and numerous other partners.
Landowner Bill Reinbold met with the workshop participants to talk about the establishment process and site preparation, management needs, wildlife benefits, and how the living snow fence has impacted his operation. He described the high survival rate of the Rocky Mountain Juniper trees and the wide range of partners who were brought together for the project.
Throughout the day, the group identified ways that trees can be used to achieve landowner production and conservation goals, as well as provide public benefits. As a result of the workshop, 10 people are on the path to becoming NRCS technical service providers in agroforestry.
In Spring 2020, OSU, the WSU Extension and the Pacific Northeast Agroforestry Working Group will hold another workshop in Oregon in partnership with the National Agroforestry Center.
For more information on this workshop or to be notified when registration opens, please contact Shannon Murray at shannon.murray[at]oregonstate.edu. In addition, please contact Kate MacFarland or Richard Straight if you are interested in working with the National Agroforestry Center to plan an agroforestry workshop in your region, or visit the National Agroforestry Center’s Training Resources webpage.