Professional Development Program






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Unit 2: Applying Ecological Principles


(Lynn Ketchum, OSU EESC)
A goal of this course is to understand the interplay between management decisions and the ecology of farms and ranches. Armed with that knowledge, producers will be better able to develop systems that are productive, conserve and enhance natural resources, and improve profitability for their business. Within that general framework we can now turn to some of the key practices that are common in most sustainable farm and ranch systems. As you work through this section, note how these practices all relate back to the ecological principles we covered in Unit 1.
In an overview course such as this, we have time to cover only the most basic information about these key practices. For each, we provide a brief description of the practice (noting some of the benefits and challenges) and highlight the factors that farmers and ranchers may need to consider in making decisions about that practice. We also include a brief list of resources that will allow you to explore the practice in greater depth. As noted at the beginning of this unit, keep in mind that every practice presented here has been modified and adapted in thousands of ways to fit the context, environment, and needs of different farm and ranch systems.
First up: Cover Crops.
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