WSARE Grant Will Help Producers Fine Tune Season Extension Use

Author: Nicole Sanchez, Oregon State University Small Farms Program

Publish Date: Fall 2020

A multi-year grant awarded by Western SARE will help producers in Klamath Falls fine tune their Season Extension use, and provide a means for them to network with cohorts of producers in Bend, OR and Modoc County, CA. In Klamath Falls, a generation of newer produce growers seek to meet increasing demand using SE. While the growers possess a general understanding of SE and its functions, lack of growing experience in the harsh and unique climate and lack of actionable, region specific best practices make SE production “trial and error”.

Numerous local food development projects are in progress in the Klamath community, including grant funded Farm to School projects, development of a food hub (KFOM), local food policy councils and collaborative teams under the umbrella of the Blue Zones Project, and South Central Oregon Economic Development District (SCOEDD). Food access and food hub feasibility studies have been done within the community in the last two years. SCOEEDD was just awarded a grant to help local producers develop effective branding.

Our project builds on SE research in similar climates, focusing on collection of environmental data to inform producer decision making re planting dates, choice of SE treatment, predicting maturity, and increasing yield. Participating growers see increased efficiency in their use of SE as key to meeting developing demand in our community. Through coordinated tracking of key temperature and weather points, collaborating on three key crops, networking with growers in similar environments, and visiting their operations, we will enable these producers to better meet the demand we are simultaneously building. PI Nicole Sanchez has assembled a large team of producers and stakeholders across three counties, including Clare Sullivan and Lauren Gwin from OSU’s Small Farms Team.