Note: In 2011, the U.S. Congress permanently eliminated funding for all Special Grants throughout the country, including the STEEP Project. This site serves to archive the valuable research and outreach products of STEEP so that they remain available to current and future generations of farmers and scientists.

Why STEEP is Essential

We are at a critical juncture in the adoption of conservation tillage practices in the Pacific Northwest.  New farm bill programs such as Conservation Security are dramatically increasing the number of farmers adopting conservation tillage.  STEEP continues to provide key knowledge to make this accelerated transition successful.

Emerging issues related to pest management, soil quality, input efficiency and social and economic constraints threaten to slow the adoption of conservation tillage systems. STEEP provides solutions to these emerging problems through long term, integrated research and education efforts – the success hallmark of the program.

Farmers are facing new challenges in terms of increasing costs of fuel and fertilizer.  STEEP research continues to discover new ways to improve the efficiency of fuel and other farm inputs with conservation tillage.

STEEP is poised to play an expanded role in facilitating the production of biofuels, sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Many of these areas are integral to successful conservation tillage adoption and are already in the realm of STEEP research.

STEEP Impact Assessment Complete

The Chairs of the STEEP research program were asked by the USDA to prepare an impact assessment of its agricultural research and education activities to date in order to evaluate the extent program goals were achieved and return on investment.  The comprehensive report, completed in October 2007, documents STEEP’s 30 years of success improving environmental impacts while bettering the economic viability of farming, and reviewing lessons learned.  The self-published report is available below pending Extension’s formal bulletin review process.

STEEP Impact Assessment report (pdf)
STEEP Impact Summary Report (pdf)
STEEP Poster presentation (pdf)

The report was also published in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, July 2009 article.


STEEP (Solutions To Environmental and Economic Problems) is an innovative interdisciplinary research/education program focusing on developing profitable cropping systems technologies for controlling cropland soil erosion and protecting environmental quality. Initiated in 1975, STEEP is a collaborative project involving scientists and educators from the University of Idaho, Oregon State University, Washington State University, and USDA-Agricultural Research Service, in cooperation with grower organizations and agricultural support industries and agencies.


The support of the Idaho Grain Producers Association, Oregon Wheat Growers League, and the Washington Association of Wheat Growers have helped to sustain the success of the STEEP program.

PDF Accessibility

If you require an alternative format for any of the content provided on this website, please contact us:

Samantha Crow
Program Specialist 2