fARMED SMART SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE Certification
Major social issues related to global food security and meeting future production demands revolve around climate change and energy conservation. Climate change and environmental degradation are a threat to production sustainability. Direct seeding systems aim to conserve, improve and make more efficient use of natural resources through integrated management of available soil, water and biological resources combined with external inputs. A clear understanding of social, economic and environmental benefits of direct seeding requires some form of standards for agricultural production (D.C. Reicosky, 2009).
A sustainable farm certification program has been developed by the Pacific Northwest Direct Seed Association and a conservation farming technical stakeholder committee comprised of conservation producers, managers from conservation districts and Washington State Department of Ecology, and researchers with NRCS and Washington State University. The certification criteria was developed using best management practices from multiple environmental and conservation entities including NRCS, Washington State Department of Ecology, and several conservation districts. The certification program has been vetted by SureHarvest; a 3rd party certification company and several regional commodity marketing companies with positive feedback that this is a market-ready program.
fARMED sMART Certification Objectives
1) define a set of conservation standards that will provide a clear understanding of economic and environmental benefits of direct seeding
2) certify producers that are utilizing sustainable practices; and
3) educate and develop environmental markets for certified sustainable products and producers.
fARMED sMART Certification Initiatives
The certification has six initiatives that will be evaluated and proven in order to become certified:
- Improving Water Quality – through less soil disturbance, less soil erosion, precision placement of fertilizers, and implementing buffer strips along water sources
- Improving Air Quality – by keeping crop residue on the field to avoid wind erosion, and reducing fuel emissions from equipment
- Improving Soil Quality – by reducing the amount of tillage which increases organic matter, earthworm activity, and yield potential.
- Improving Wildlife habitat – by providing food and cover for wildlife and fish habitats
- Conserving Energy and Reducing Carbon Footprint – through planting in 1 – 2 passes allowing a significant reduction in fossil fuel usage and sequestering carbon in the soil
- Improving Economic Viability and Sustainability – reducing input costs of fuel, labor, and chemicals through precision agriculture and direct seeding practices ensures the family farm can continue to produce a safe food supply for the growing population
- Become a member of PNDSA
- Grower completes the Farmed Smart Application and submits to
- Application will be reviewed by PNDSA to determine if candidate is eligible to move forward in the certification process. If farmer is notified to continue, they will pay certification fee and provide additional information on current practices, equipment, nutrient management plans, etc.
- Once payment and requested information is recieved an audit will be scheduled with a certified farm examiner.
- Certification decision will be made and producer notified.
- Certification renewal will occur on a three-year basis.
Funding for the development and implementation of the certification program, this updated website, and direct seed advertising campaign was funded by a grant from Washington State Department of Ecology. PNDSA would like to thank Department of Ecology in helping us advance our association’s mission!
Certification criteria complete
PNDSA was awarded a $247,000 grant from Department of Ecology for direct seed cost share and implementation support 2013-2016
Farmed Smart name and logo developed and trademarked
Business and market plan developed
Finalize certification technical handbook, software, and materials.
Obtain regulatory support from Department of Ecology.
Farmed Smart Examiner position filled
Train 3rd party auditors and begin certifying producers with over 30 producers initially interested in becoming certified.
Develop a consumer, distributor, and environmental marketing program to build value in this program and provide incentives back to producers.
Farmed Smart Auditors:
Farmed Smart auditor have experience in dry-land production cropping systems, equipment, precision technology, riparian buffers, crop rotations, and nutrient and pest management plans. Auditors will be assigned base on availability and geographic location of the farm to be certified.
Tami Stubbs, Palouse Conservation District
Tami Stubbs works with the Palouse Conservation District as the Conservation Agriculture & Farmed Smart Coordinator. She will be working with the PNDSA to conduct Farmed Smart producer certifications within the Palouse River watershed as well as coordinating enrollment into direct seed, precision agriculture and related conservation agriculture programs with the PCD. Tami holds degrees in Agronomy Soil Science from Washington State University. Before coming to the PCD she worked in the WSU Crops & Soils Department in Soil Microbiology research and most recently, with the Winter Wheat Breeding & Genetics group. She was raised on a wheat farm near Spokane, and continues to farm with her husband and family in western Whitman County. The Stubbs family has been direct seeding and working to implement alternative crops in their rotations since 1997. She is excited for the opportunity to assist in launching the Farmed Smart certification program to recognize the dedication of direct seed producers using sustainable farming practices.
Charlie Peterson, Spokane Conservation District
509-535-7274, ext. 220 |
Charlie has worked at the Spokane Conservation District for nearly 20 years. He has been an NRCS Certified Conservation Planner sense 2005. His past work included three years of conservation plan development and practice certification through an NRCS special EQIP program, Agricultural Water Enhancement Program, (AWEP), focusing on no-till system implementation. He also has 2 years’ experience operating a CrossSlot no-till drill for producers in Eastern Washington. He is currently coordinating the Spokane CD’s Greater Spokane River Regional Partnership Program, (RCPP) funded through NRCS. Charlie has an AAS degree in Water Resources and Natural Resource Management.
Eric Choker, Spokane Conservation District
509-535-7274, ext. 219 |
Eric Choker is a soil scientist for Spokane Conservation District since 2004, runs their soil lab and knows first-hand the benefits to soil health and water quality that direct seed strategies provide. He is a NRCS Certified planner, GIS and GPS specialist, retired US Air force, and has excellent rapport with farmers and landowners, working with them on implementing conservation programs. Eric has a degree in Soil Science and Environmental Science from Washington State University and attended University of Prince Edward Island, Canada for Environmental Science.
Jon Merz, Foster Creek Conservation District
Jon Merz, the District Manager with Foster Creek Conservation District, has over 25 years of conservation planning and water quality monitoring, research, and restoration projects. He has years of experience with using the NRCS RUSLE2 model and the direct seed management strategies, equipment, and soil inputs needed to use the model for Farmed Smart certifications. He has proven experience providing direct seed cost share, conservation farm plans, and Voluntary Stewardship programs for farmers. He previously led the Central Washington Region Watershed Unit for the Department of Ecology. He has a MS in Biology, from Central Washington University.
Amanda Ward, Foster Creek Conservation District
Amanda Ward, Natural Resource Specialist at Foster Creek CD is an experienced environmental Project Manager with over 10 years of planning experience and proven ability to build strong relationships to support projects to completion. She currently manages the Foster Creek direct seed programs working with producers in Douglas, Grant, and Okanogan counties, involved with developing a soil health improvement plans, and implementing watershed restoration projects. Amanda has a degree in Environmental Science, Land and Water - Charles Sturt University; and Advanced Diploma in Land Management from University of Sydney, Australia.
Elizabeth Hanwacker, Foster Creek Conservation District
509-888-6373 | email@example.com
Elizabeth Hanwacker, Natural Resource Specialist at Foster Creek CD, has experience working in resource management at a state- and federal-level for over 7 years. She has received intensive training for using NRCS RUSLE2, WEPS, and Win-PST models and enjoys field work, even in inclement weather, to better serve her community. Elizabeth is currently managing Conservation Plans for producers in Douglas County as well as education and outreach, noxious weed biological bug control, and water quality monitoring. She has a BA in Environmental Science from Clark University.