Results of the STEEP Strategic Planning Session
The Joint Coordinating Committee for STEEP held a strategic planning session following the research review on Feb. 23, 2006 at the AmeriSuites Hotel in Pasco, Washington. The objective of the strategic planning session was to identify research priorities for the fiscal year 2007 STEEP special research grant.
The strategic planning exercise was led by Mr. Bill Broughton of the Washington Conservation Commission. Participants were divided into three groups: growers, researchers and agency personnel. The results of the strategic planning session revealed many similarities among groups in terms of broad research themes and priorities.
Common themes are summarized in the following objectives:
1. Develop profitable and environmentally-sound alternative crop rotations for annual and crop-fallow systems. Rotation crops could include biofuels, green manures, or other alternatives with an emphasis on yield stability and improved economic returns over the rotation.
2. Develop profitable and environmentally-sound alternatives to tillage ranging from low disturbance seeding to reduced tillage systems that aid in capillary disruption and seed zone water conservation but maintain(s) soil quality and residue cover for erosion control.This includes, but is not limited to, residue spreading, processing, and minimum tillage; methods to accelerate residue decomposition; and the fate and effect of residue on soil organic matter and nitrogen pools. This may include alternating no-till with minimum tillage.
3. Develop alternatives for the control of common pests in reduced tillage systems, emphasizing resistance management and genetic, cultural, and/or chemical controls where necessary.
4. Develop improved nutrient management practices for reduced tillage systems that optimize nutrient efficiency and yields and minimize the potential for adverse environmental effects.
5. Enhance i) the dissemination of STEEP research results to traditional and new audiences; and ii) the adoption of conservation technologies by PNW farmers.
The results of the strategic planning exercise were incorporated into the fiscal year 2007 request for proposals from the STEEP program.