About PNDSA

PNDSA is a non-profit association formed in 2000 to provide information exchange, advocacy on conversation policy issues, research coordination, access to value-added benefits that supports the adoption of environmentally sustainable and economically viable direct seed cropping systems.  PNDSA unites growers under a cropping system, rather than one specific crop. We are passionate about bringing together diverse groups with common interests to advance the future of sustainable farming.

Direct seed farming systems place seed and fertilizer in one – two passes directly into the crop residue and root structure from last year’s crop.  Specialized equipment opens a narrow seed row in largely undisturbed soil and the plants grow up through that seed row. The crop residue and root structure keeps the water and the soil in the field, reducing soil erosion by 90% (through wind and water), mitigates offsite movement of agriculture chemicals tied to soil particles, improving water and air quality.  Other benefits include sequestration of carbon in the soil, improved soil health, reduction of fossil fuel usage and emissions, reduction of field burning, and improving wildlife habitat.

Click here to learn more about the PNDSA mission, board, and major initiatives.

To provide Pacific Northwest farmers with information exchange, advocacy on conservation policy issues, access to value added benefits, and research coordination that will assure adoption of economically viable and environmentally sustainable direct seed cropping systems.

Click here to download a PDF about the complete benefits of Direct Seeding

Good for environment

reduces soil erosion

Crop residues anchored on the soil surface reduce erosion by water and wind by up to 90% compared to unprotected, intensively tilled soils. During the last 40 years, nearly 1/3 of the world’s arable land has been lost to erosion and continues to be lost at a rate of more than 22 million acres per year. Continuous direct seed cropping systems are recognized as a sustainable farming system by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Improves Air Quality

Anchored crop residues significantly slow wind speed and intensity at the soil surface resulting in reduced airborne dust and herbicide particulate that can result from wind events. Reduced fuel consumption from direct seed cropping systems also reduce airborne fuel emission particulates from farming operations.

Improves Water Quality

The increased water infiltration capacity of continuous direct seed cropping systems significantly reduce surface water runoff and the potential for the translocation of nutrients and surface applied crop protection products. Low volumes and slow moving surface water that may leave direct seed fields is cleaner and carries less sediment, nutrients and toxins than other cropping systems. Also, once water has infiltrated the soil, microbes that live in carbon-rich soils help degrade pesticides and utilize nutrients to protect groundwater quality.

Reduced runoff and leaching decreases off-site nutrient loads and reduces sedimentation on country roads and ditches, streams and rivers.

Benefits Wildlife

Crop residues provide shelter and food for wildlife while improved water quality enhances fish and waterfowl habitat.

 

Good for your soil

Continuous direct seed cropping systems replace important biomass residues in the soil, feeding the soil’s micro flora and fauna and ultimately improve soil health. Healthy soil supports healthy, strong and competitive plant communities that are more resilient.

 

Increase Soil organic Matter and improve soil tilth

Continuous direct seed cropping systems increase soil organic matter (OM). Research has shown the more often soil is tilled, the more carbon is released to the atmosphere and less carbon is available to build organic matter for future crops. Increased OM levels result in better nutrient exchange capability and improved soil tilth for increased water holding capacity.

Improves soil fertility

In addition to increasing OM, continuous direct seed cropping systems improve soil particle aggregation and create an ideal habitat for earthworms and micro biological activity. Plants establish roots, find moisture and utilize nutrients more efficiently.

Efficient use of available moisture

Continuous direct seed cropping systems build a protective mulch on the soil surface which reduces the impact of raindrops, buffers the soil from temperature extremes and reduces soil moisture evaporation. More moisture gets into the soil and more moisture stays in the soil where crops can utilize it for increased productivity.

Channels created by earthworms and undisturbed decaying plant roots also improve water infiltration.

Reducing tillage also saves moisture. Each tillage pass uses, on average, 1/4 to 1/2 inch of soil moisture which is an equivalent of 7,000 to 14,000 gallons of water per acre - 7,000,000 to 14,000,000 gallons on a 1000 acre farm. (Rourke, Manitoba)

Contact us if you are interested in being a PNDSA Director

2019 Board Picture 2.jpg

 

2019 PNDSA Board of Directors

Left to Right: Chris Rauch, Lexington, OR;  Mark Green, Asotin, WA; John McNabbInkom, IDChuck Schmidt, Rosalia, WA; Douglas Poole, Past President, Mansfield, WA; Jill Clapperton, Spokane, WA; Brent Uhlorn, Vice President, Cottonwood, ID; Pat  Purdy, Boise, ID; Derek Schaefer, Ritzville, WA; Tom Conklin, Treasurer Culdesac, ID; Devin Moon, Secretary, Prosser, WA; Noah Williams, Wasco, OR; Keith Morter, President, Heppner, OR; Clint Zenner, Genesee, ID; Tom Demianew, Pendleton, OR;

Not Pictured:  Dan Harwood St. John, WA; Kurtis SchroederUI, Moscow, IDAaron Esser, WSU, Ritzville, WA; Travis Hillman, The Dalles, OR; Don Wysocki, OSU, Pendleton, OR; Dave Huggins, ARS Pullman, WA; Jesse Brunner, Almira, WA; 

Officers

Keith Morter - President

Ione, OR 
Contact: 541-571-3533  | keithmorterfarm(at)gmail.com

  •  Average Rainfall: 6”-10”
  • Crops: Winter and Spring Wheat
  • Direct Seed Equipment: Flexi Coil air drill
  • On our farm south of Ione, Oregon, we have always been concerned about water and wind erosion. We started our change to direct seed in 2010 with 400 acre of direct seed the first year. By 2011 we had completely converted to the direct seed system using chemical fallow.  In 2011, we also started field mapping. In 2014, we applied and received a 3 year Conservation Innovation Grant. The grant is to; study the available fertilizer in the soil, to develop a Side Banding technique, and to advance our field mapping system. The side banding uses the latest technology available to apply fertilizer in the spring of the year into the existing winter wheat crop. Currently we map all our seed, fertilizer, and yields. We are using the latest technology which include, GPSed zonal soil sampling using handheld GPS,  VRA fertilizer and seed application, Farm Works software and wireless Connected Farm. Our Drill is a Flexi Coil air drill with a paired row opener. Our banding system is a Yetter 6200 N Keeper that is mounted on a homemade frame.


.Brent Uhlorn, Vice President
Cottonwood, ID
Contact Info: 208-962-3435  uhlorn_2004(at)hotmail.com

Douglas Poole - Past President, Farmed Smart Certified
Double P Ranch, Mansfield, WA  
Contact: 509-421-3304  |  gocougs90(at)hotmail.com 

  •  Amount of Annual Rainfall: 7-9 inches
  • Direct Seed Equipment you use:  40’ John Deere 1870 Conserva Pak
  • Year started direct seeding: 2012
  • Why did you transition to direct seeding?  There was no one “ah ha” but a series of events that led me to direct seeding.  I returned to the family farm in the spring of 2011.  My first huge stress was how would I ever buy all the equipment my family had accumulated over 40 years.  At the same time, my uncle had already spent several years researching direct seeding and believed with the proper systems approach, direct seeding would be successful here in Douglas County.  In fact, he purchased his John Deere ConservaPak and was already showing success.  I spent many hours with him listening to him, questioning him and digging in his fields.  It became apparent that direct seeding was so much more than saving input costs, but was an opportunity to repair our overworked soils and begin to believe that our soils have the potential to produce more than ever could be expected.  The final piece to the puzzle was the fact I qualified for an EQUIP energy grant which gave me the resources to purchase my drill.
  • Why do you feel direct seeding is important to the future of agriculture?  Sustainability!!!  I now believe I will have something to leave to the next generation that will be in better shape than when I took it over

Devin Moon - Secretary
Double M Farms, Prosser, WA
C
ontact: 509-366-7489 | dmoonfarms(at)gmail.com

  • Average Rainfall: 6”-9”
  • Crops: Winter and Spring Wheat
  • Direct Seed Equipment: Great Plains NT disc drill 

I came back to the farm in 2008 and observed some of the first no till farming going on in our region, The Horse Heaven Hills. It became obvious that this was a great solution for our light wind eroded soils. We traditionally are not able to early seed and most years dust seed mid October. Direct seeding provided us with a much nicer seed bed for our late seeding environment. We first started with 400 acres of direct seeded ground in 2010 after many years of conservation tillage and jumped in fully with the remainder of the farm in 2012. This has truly transformed our farm and we are recognizing numerous benefits. Wind and water erosion has been greatly reduced, labor reduction, and our soil health is improving for the first time....ever. It's great to know that the days of dirt storms caused by deep tillage are over and that we can pass this ground to the next generation more productive than when we took it over. 

I'm excited to be involved with the PNDSA, I feel that this organization puts on one of the best conferences in the northwest full of fresh new ideas and innovative growers. I'm also excited to help promote the farmed smart program, to continue to add value and to show other growers what the PNDSA has to offer!

Tom Conklin - Treasurer
Wittman Farms, Culdesac, ID

Contact:  thomas.conklin1(at)gmail.com  | 208-816-9700

 

Idaho Directors

Pat Purdy
Picabo Livestock Company, Boise, ID
Contact: 208-631-7788 | pat(at)purdyent.com 

  • Started the transition to direct seed in 2014.
  • Average Rainfall of 12” - we are nearly 100% irrigated
  • Crops: Barley (malt & food grade), diary-quality alfalfa, grass hay, yellow mustard, cow/calf operation.
  • Critical equipment for our direct seed operation: JD 1890 air-seeder w/1910 270-bushel tow-between commodity cart and a JD S670 combine with Powercast tailboard for chaff spreading since we windrow and bale our straw.
  • We farm along the banks of both Silver Creek and the Big Wood River which are both in a very environmentally sensitive area south of Sun Valley, Idaho.  We needed to move to no-till farming to protect these resources, but also because we recognized that we must start to focus on soil health.  Our ground has been hayed and pastured for over 100 years and in that short time most of the key nutrients and organic matter have been removed from the soil.  Our land has been in the family for over 135 years, and we needed to change our practices to ensure that the next generations will have the same opportunity to farm that we have had.

 

 

John McNabb
McNabb Farms, Inkom, ID
Contact: 208-251-3681 | zerotill(at)hughes.net

  •  Direct Seeder Since 1978
  • Average Rainfall = 17"
  • Crops: Wheat, barley, alfalfa
  • Direct Seed Equipment: John Deere Deep Band Drill & Case Air Drill
  • “We transitioned to direct seeding on a fluke, a barley field froze early before we could disk.  We started disking after a rainfall and seeding behind and kept plugging the drill.  So we tried drilling directly into the frozen barley residue and had a great winter wheat crop the next year.   We haven’t tilled since.  With direct seeding we are saving the soil, creating a cleaner environment, use less fertilizer and less fuel.  I’d like to tell farmers that don’t think direct seeding will work for them to come and see for yourself.”

 

Clint Zenner
Zenner Family Farms, Genesee, ID
Contact: 208-791-5250 | clintzff(at)gmail.com

 

Oregon Directors 

Noah Williams
Williams Ranch, Wasco, OR 
Contact: 541-980-2699 | nkain10(at)yahoo.com

Travis Hillman
The Dalles, OR

Contact:  541-993-6277 | thillman(at)atisolutionsllc.com

Chris Rauch
Starvation Farms, Lexington, OR
Contact: 514-379-3554 | ckr411sb(at)gmail.com

 

Washington Directors

Devin Moon
Double M Farms, Prosser, WA.
Contact: 509-366-7489 | dmoonfarms(at)gmail.com

Chuck Schmidt
Rosalia, WA
Contact: 509-523-6461 | cshmidt(at)att.net

Dan Harwood
Malden, WA
Contact: 509-595-8297 | dan.harwood68(at)gmail.com

Derek Schafer
Schafer Ranch LTD, Ritzville, WA  Contact: 509-660-0086 | derekschafer(at)gmail.com 

  • Amount of Annual Rainfall: 10 inches
  • Direct Seed Equipment you use:  Flexi Coil Air Drill
  • Year started direct seeding: 2013
  • "We are just starting to experiment with direct seeding on a portion of our farm.  Our direct seeded acres are better protected from wind and water erosion and require less time and fuel than our traditional fallow acres.  I feel that as we move into the future there will be new developments in the crops that we grow and the equipment that we use to make direct seeding an even bigger advantage.   I am very new to direct seeding and feel that the PNDSA can provide countless benefits to both new and experienced direct seeders."

Dr. Jill Clapperton
Rhizoterra, Spokane WA  Contact: 406-360-7421  |  jill(at)rhizoterra.com
Jill Clapperton is the Principal Scientist, Co-founder and owner of Rhizoterra Inc. and a well-known international lecturer and advocate for practices that promote soil health.  Rhizoterra Inc. is an international company that creates information and knowledge pertaining to soil health, enabling stakeholders to make informed decisions based on science.  They work to demonstrate and promote the link between healthy soils and the production of nutrient dense food.  Their strategies include whole system planning for crop, livestock, and/or integrated crop and livestock systems. We know that one-size fits no one so we coach our clients to implement strategies that best suit them, their families, community and markets, to restore and enhance agro-ecosystem function and services.

Jesse Brunner
Fifth Gen Farm  Almira, WA.
Contact: 509-641-0197 | jesse.brunner(at)gmail.com

 

Ex-Officio Directors

Curt Livesay, PhD, CCA 
Dynamite AG  Gig Harbor, WA.  
Contact: 641-919-5574 | curt(at)dynamiteag.com                                                                                                                                                                      

Dr. Don Wysocki, Oregon State University 
Pendleton, OR
Contact: 541-278-4396 | dwysocki(at)oregonstate.edu

Associate Professor of Crop and Soil Science at Oregon State University College of Agriculture. Research projects are concerned with improving management of soils under dryland farming systems in relation to soil and water conservation, crop rotation, and nutrient management. http://cropandsoil.oregonstate.edu/people/Wysocki-Donald

Dr. Dave Huggins, USDA/ARS 
Spokane, WA

Contact: 509-335-3379 | dhuggins(at)wsu.edu

Soil Scientist with USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Land Management and Water Conservation Unit. Dr. Huggins received his Ph.D. in soil fertility and plant nutrition with his doctoral dissertation on redesigning no-till cropping systems for increased productivity and nitrogen use efficiency. Dave is involved with many direct-seed and no-till research and grant efforts. www.ars.usda.gov

Dr. Kurtis Schroeder, University of Idaho
Cropping Systems Agronomist University of Idaho
Contact: 208-885-5020 | kschroeder(at)uidaho.edu


Aaron Esser, Washington State University
Washington State University Extension; County Director, Adams County

Ritzville, WA
Contact: 509-659-3210  |  aarons(at)wsu.edu 

Tom Demianew, Oregon Department of Agriculture
Pendleton, OR
Contact: tdemianew(at)oda.state.or.us | 541-276-8131 

Staff

Ty Meyer, Executive Director
Colton, WA

Contact: 509-995-1220 | pndsa(at)directseed.org

  • Executive Director Since 2018,
    Bachelor's Degree Agri-Business, Washington State University
         

 

 

The following represent the official PNDSA policy positions on issues pertinent to our mission. We welcome any input or questions you may have.

 

CRP Takeout

March 2008

Over the next three years, thousands of acres of Conservation Reserve program (CPR) land in the Pacific Northwest will reach the end of current contracts. Given current commodity prices and the drive to develop a viable biofuel industry in the PNW, it is likely much of this land will be brought into annual crop production. Over the life of a CRP contact many environmental benefits are delivered, including protection of highly erodible land and carbon sequestration. It is the opinion of the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association that the return of this land to annual crop production does not have to have severe and negative environmental consequences.

To help reduce the potential negative environmental impact of this impending action, CRP contract administrators can allow and encourage landowners to adopt and utilize direct seed crop systems.

 

Farm Program policy provisions

Adopted October 13, 2005

  1. Maintaining planting flexibility - Direct seed systems enhance the sustainability of agriculture through improved economic and environmental benefits. Diversified rotations are a critical element to maintaining both the economic and environmental integrity of direct seed systems. The PNDSA endorses farm policies that continue to encourage, not penalize farmers for making planting decisions that include rotational diversity and respond to market signals.
  2. Conservation Incentive Payments - Growers should be rewarded by the public for adopting practices such as direct seeding that reduce negative environmental impacts on our streams and rivers. Incentive based programs that recognize the environmental benefits conservation farming practices promote can help encourage farmers to transition into direct seeding. Increased adoption of better conservation practices will enhance air and water quality as well as wildlife habitat. The public's desire for environmental stewardship in production agriculture should be balanced with the responsibility to mitigate increased costs and risk to implement these practices. The PNDSA facilitates the process of accessing public and private funding sources to address these transition costs.
  3. Conservation payment eligibility should be accessible on a non-discriminatory basis to producers regardless of past efforts to incorporate conservation practices in their operation.
  4. Family Farm Business Viability/Safety Net Programs - PNDSA believes some minimal safety net programs are necessary to insure economic integrity of family farm businesses. PNDSA believe farmers have an obligation to institute all possible measures at their disposal to operate competitively. In addition to demonstrating production skills, farmers should be encouraged and rewarded for efforts to enhance their marketing, financial and business management proficiencies. Future farm policies should consider incentive systems that fund expanded educational opportunities for farmers to build better proficiencies in these areas.

 

Agriculture burning

Adopted July 8, 2003; Amended October 13, 2005

The PNDSA encourages farmers to maintain crop residue in their cropping systems. Residue reduces soil erosion, retains valuable nutrient, increases organic matter, and results in healthier soils. Burning is a management tool that should be available for specific situations, such as helping to control disease and pest problems and facilitating transition into direct seed systems where heavy crop residue can make it difficult to establish a crop.

The PNDSA will take an active role in educating growers and the public about the use of burning as a management tool and alternative strategies to adopt direct seeding in heavy residue situations without destroying surface residue. The PNDSA supports increased research on viable options to field burning that do not involve increasing tillage. Research successes can substantially reduce the amount of acres burned in the PNW. The PNDSA will work with all stakeholders to promote responsible use of burning with regard to smoke management and consumer air quality concerns.

 

salmon recovery in the pacific northwest

Adopted July 8, 2003; Amended October 13, 2005

The PNDSA recognizes the importance of several salmon species in the tri-state region, and believes agriculture plays a key role in the process of recovery. The importance of water quality in promoting better spawning conditions is critical to that recovery. Conservation farming practices that include direct seeding can help bring endangered salmon species back to our rivers. Direct seeding contributes directly to salmon recovery through reduction of soil erosion and pesticide runoff and improvement of spawning habitat. PNDSA supports formation of partnerships with entities interested in environmental improvement that will directly enhance salmon recovery through improved production practices.

 

Crop Insurance

Adopted October 13, 2005

Having a comprehensive set of risk management tools is essential to PNW farmers’ viability. The design of specific program provisions in crop insurance programs should encourage implementation of diverse crop rotation systems. Some RMA policies and claims procedures penalize growers with diverse rotations, and insurance programs often fail to deliver the expected coverage purchased when the actual claims process takes place. The PNDSA recommends that the Pacific Northwest Steering Group (representatives from the major PNW commodity groups along with representatives from RMA and the insurance industry) reconvene to review a number of risk management problem areas. PNDSA encourages RMA working in concert with the Steering Group to consider the following priorities in Federal Crop Insurance programming:

  • Expand application of master yields for alternative crops
  • Implement a Crop Revenue Program for peas, lentils and chickpeas
  • Expand winter coverage for Winter peas and lentils
  • Continue efforts to make the unit agreement provisions more flexible for establishing optional units in mosaic geographic regions of the PNW
  • Modify the NCIS claims manual to delete misleading information and fully implement 2002 rule change for handling dockage on pea and lentil claims
  • Eliminate the practice of combining yields of unlike commodities when calculating production for claims purposes (peas and lentils; spring and fall wheat; continuous crop and summer fallow wheat