Author: Nick Andrews, Tracy Wilson and Clare Sullivan, Oregon State University, Small Farms Program

Publication Date: Winter 2021

In May 2018, Grassland Oregon hosted a cover crop tour and conference with guests from Cover Crops Councils around the U.S., and Oregon seed distributors, farmers, Extension, Conservationists and others. Discussions during the event led to the formation of an ad hoc group that decided to form a Western Cover Crops Council (WCCC). The group developed bylaws and an outreach listserv, and secured grant funding for some initial projects. In November 2019, they elected a Board of Directors and in March, 2020 the Board elected four officers.

The mission of the Western Cover Crops Council is to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration that promotes the successful adoption and integration of cover cropping into Western U.S. agricultural systems.

The WCCC is the newest Cover Crops Council in the U.S. The Midwest Council was the first to form in 2006, followed by the Northeast in 2016, and the South in 2017. The western region is by far the largest and most diverse of all these regions with climates ranging from arctic to tropical and nearly everything in between. The Board decided to form regional committees (figure 1) so that the WCCC can provide locally relevant information for farmers and other agricultural professionals who are interested in cover crop adoption, education and research.

In December, 2020 we launched the WCCC website, where you can find contact information for the Board of Directors, names of the Regional Committee members, cover crop resources, and an events calendar. In 2021 with funding from Western SARE, the WCCC is hosting a series of sub-regional cover crop webinars. The Pacific Northwest series will be on Tuesdays from noon to 1:30pm (Pacific Time) on February 16 and 23, and March 2, 9 and 16. Speakers will present results from a recent western region cover crops survey, discuss current cover crop research, provide updates from the cover crop seed industry.

The March 16 event will be a Zoom meeting with break-out groups to explore emerging themes in cover crop research, education, adoption and policy. Detailed agendas and registration information will be available on the WCCC events calendar at https:// westerncovercrops.org/events-and-webinars/. To stay informed on future WCCC activities, sign up for updates at https://westerncovercrops.org/contact/.