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Conservation Innovation Grant Teff Project

Conservation Innovation Grant Teff Project

by Darla Juhl, Resource Conservation and Development Coordinator
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Stockton, Kansas

Over the past three years the Solomon Valley Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Area, Inc. has worked in cooperation with the Kansas Black Farmers Association (KBFA) to grow and market teff, a grain native to Ethiopia. A national Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) for $119,300 was awarded to the Solomon Valley RC&D from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to sponsor and administer the project. The project began in October 2007 and was completed in September 2010.

Teff Project

The first teff planted under project direction was in May 2008 in Phillips County, and more followed that year in Graham and Rooks Counties. About fifty acres of teff were planted the first year. Also during that first year of the grant, the RC&D purchased a seed cleaner and a harvester. In August 2008, the harvester was demonstrated during the Teff Tour and Field Day. The tour started in Graham County, touring fields near Nicodemus, and then going on to Phillips County north of Logan to see the harvester work.

After the first year it became apparent that there were challenges with weed pressure, as well as drilling and harvesting for grain. During the second year approximately 95 acres of teff were drilled, less than 20 acres were harvested. In August 2009, the Teff Field Day was held in and near Nicodemus. The harvester was again demonstrated and presentations on teff research in Nebraska and teff as a forage were given.

In 2010, the final year for the grant, over 200 acres of teff were planted in Norton, Graham, Rooks and Osborne Counties, all for forage. By 2010, most of the issues concerning drilling the small-seeded teff had been addressed, but weed pressure continues to be an issue of concern. The Teff Field Day was held in eastern Rooks County, south of Woodston. Field day participants were able to see growing teff as well as baled teff. Speakers provided information on teff as a forage, controlling weeds in teff, and available teff varieties.

The Solomon Valley RC&D is one of nine authorized RC&D areas in the state of Kansas and also has its 501(c)(3) nonprofit determination, serving Norton, Phillips, Smith, Graham, Rooks, and Osborne Counties. The Solomon Valley RC&D would like to hear your project idea if you have one. Please contact the RC&D office directly at 785-425-6647 or see our website at www.solomonvalleyrcd.org. The RC&D also has local council members in each county; please contact your local conservation district or NRCS office for more assistance.

Visit your local NRCS office to learn more about natural resources conservation. The office is located at your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the internet at offices.usda.gov). More information is also available on the Kansas Web site at www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov. USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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