Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) News – Vegetable Crops Hotline

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) News

NCR-SARE Funded Awards

NCR-SARE Announces 2022 Research and Education Awards – February 1, 2023

NCR-SARE is pleased to announce the projects selected for funding for the 2022 Research and Education competitive grant program. Seventeen (17) projects were awarded a total of more than $3.8 million through this NCR-SARE grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, economically viable, and socially responsible food and/or fiber systems.

The following awarded projects are in order by state and then by last name:

Matthew O’Neal with Iowa State University in Ames, IA, was awarded $248,659 for the project, “Prairie Strips for Enhanced Honey Production: Can Conservation Improve Apiculture?”

Jill Kostel with The Wetlands Initiative in Chicago, IL, was awarded $143,480 for the project, “Collaborative Outreach and Demonstration of Farm-based Tile-Treatment Wetlands for Water Quality Improvement.”

Kathryn Orvis with Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, was awarded $245,116 for the project, “Urban Farming Entrepreneurship Program: Providing Minority Youth Entrepreneurship Training to Increase Employment and Food Access.”

Jaymelynn Farney with Kansas State University in Parsons, KS, was awarded $ $249,932 for the project, “Evaluating Virtual Fences for Cattle in Regards to Water Resources, Forage Management, Invasive Weed Control, and Wildlife Systems.”

Krista Isaacs with Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, was awarded $249,932 for the project, “Evaluating an Under-utilized Species for Climate Resilient Forage and Cover Crop Options in North Central Region Cropping Systems.”

Meghan Milbrath with Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI, was awarded $114,625 for the project, “Taking the Sting out of Honey Bee Medicine: Training and Tools for Veterinarians to Increase Access to Care for Beekeepers.”

Nicolas Jelinski with the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN, was awarded $249,852 for the project, “Exploration of Shredded Cardboard as a Mulch and Compost Resource to Improve Soil Health and Water Management by Urban Growers in the Twin Cities.”

Robert Koch with the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN, was awarded $239,682 for the project, “Biological Control for Sustainable Management of Soybean Gall Midge, a New Pest of Soybean in the North Central Region.”

Courtney Kowalczak with Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, MN, was awarded $250,000 for the project, “Bimaaji’idiwin Gitigaaning Producer Training Program and Manoomin Hull Research.”

Lindsay Pease with the University of Minnesota in Crookston, MN, was awarded $249,839 for the project, “Planting Green in the Frozen North.”

Kyungsoo Yoo with the University of Minnesota in Saint Paul, MN, was awarded $249,939 for the project, “Optimizing Agricultural Use of Diverse Soil Landscapes: Small Organic Vegetable Farms in the Driftless Area.”

Ryan Tenney with Sankara Farm in Kansas City, MO, was awarded $249,352 for the project, “Black Emancipatory Agriculture Asset Map (BEAAM) and Returning Generation Black Farmer Mentorship Program.”

Amy Gerdes with Community Crops in Lincoln, NE, was awarded $72,446 for the project, “Marketing and Business Skills for Beginning, Refugee, and Immigrant Farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

Rhoda Burrows with South Dakota State University in Rapid City, SD, was awarded $249,935 for the project, “Comparing Soil Tarping and Solarization for Early Season Weed Control in Vegetable Crop Systems – a Research and Demonstration Study.”

Luis Peña-Lévano with the University of Wisconsin in River Falls, WI, was awarded $249,945 for the project, “Financial Feasibility and Environmental Implications of Adopting Automatic Milking Systems by Dairy Farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota.”

Gregg Sanford with the University of Wisconsin in Madison, WI, was awarded $249,738 for the project, “The Soil Organic Carbon network (SOCnet): Farmers building soil assets to help mitigate and adapt to climate change in the North Central US.”

Kate Wersan with the Savanna Institute in Madison, WI, was awarded $249,597 for the project, “Novice-to-Producer Agroforestry Education: Linking Demonstration Farms to Online Learning, Apprenticeships, and Communities of Practice.”

You can view NCR-SARE’s 2022 funded projects along with their descriptions at

New SARE Bulletins

Transitioning to Organic Production – January 9, 2023

Sean McGovern

Since the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act passed, the market for organic products has steadily risen. In 2020, organic sales skyrocketed to an all-time high, motivating many farmers to consider transitioning their farms to organic production. While organic production can help farmers gain access to new markets, improve soil and increase profits, the transition process can be both challenging and risky.

SARE’s newest bulletin, Transitioning to Organic Production, explains how many farmers adopt organic production to increase profits while improving the resilience and environmental impact of their production systems. Long-term success requires patience, flexibility, good record-keeping and a commitment to stewardship.

Transitioning to Organic Production lays out basic transition strategies for livestock, field crop and horticultural systems, including a summary of the certification process and the National Organic Program standards. Practices common to all organic systems are also addressed, including:

  • crop rotation
  • cover cropping
  • addition of organic fertility sources
  • disease prevention
  • integrated pest and weed management
  • conservation tillage

Transitioning to Organic Production also outlines how these research-based practices, paired with sound transition strategies such as flexible timelines, using alternative labels and coordinating with NRCS programs, can help farmers successfully navigate the transition process. Download or order your free print copy of Transitioning to Organic Production at or by calling (301) 779–1007.

Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets – November 29, 2022

Lisa O’Fiesh

With the popularity of local foods spreading to the largest retailers in the country, many producers now see an opportunity to grow their farms by scaling up and expanding to wholesale markets. Selling to the wholesale market can help smaller-scale farmers to connect with more customers to increase brand recognition and profitability.

SARE’s newest bulletin, Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets, provides a variety of strategies and tools to help owners of small- to mid-scale operations branch out into wholesale markets.

Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets features a range of effective strategies for business planning, working with wholesale buyers and increasing production capacity. Producers Shakera and Juan Raygoza of Terra Preta Farm in Edinburg, Texas, share how they scaled up from 1.5 acres of diversified vegetables to growing 15 acres of organic radishes for local wholesale markets. Raygoza says that transitioning to wholesale markets was a “game changer” for the farm and for the surrounding community.

Specialized crop production, combined with smart investments in equipment, appropriate marketing strategies and improved postharvest handling, can help farmers to scale up to sell their products more efficiently and consistently. In some cases, working together can give producers the opportunity to expand by overcoming barriers that have previously limited access to profitable wholesale markets.

Download or order your free print copy of Scaling Up Your Vegetable Farm for Wholesale Markets at  or by calling (301) 779–1007.

New Video Series

Manage Weeds on Your Farm Video Series

SARE Outreach

In this series, experienced farmers from around the country talk about how they have found success controlling weeds by following ecological principles, and without resorting to the use of herbicides. To do so, they rely on a range of cultural and mechanical practices, including diverse crop rotations, well-timed cultivation and targeting weeds when they’re at vulnerable growth stages. They are:

  • Johnson Farms, Madison, S.D. (grains)
  • Burroughs Family Orchards, Denair, Calif. (almonds)
  • Terra Preta Farm, Edinburg, Texas (horticulture)
  • The Martens Farm, Penn Yan, N.Y. (grains and legumes)

The videos are available at

Learn more with the book Managing Weeds on Your Farm


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