Note: The U.S. Congress in 2011 permanently eliminated funding for all Special Grants throughout the country, including the STEEP Project.
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 (pdf) (Journal of Soil and Water Conservation abstract/references)