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Lyon County Programs

Tef Crop Production

The purpose of this program is to introduce Nevada farmers to and help train them in the cultivation of tef, a small-seeded grain and forage crop that requires less water than alfalfa and can be more profitable. There is a strong market for tef seed, which is made into flour to make an Ethiopian flat bread known as injera, as well as for tef hay as a high-quality horse hay.


Alfalfa or grass hay is produced on more than 92 percent of Nevada’s irrigated agricultural lands. The lack of alternative crops limits producer options when hay prices fall or input costs such as electricity rise. This situation is compounded by threats to irrigation water from urban communities and natural drought. Three recent fact sheets examining the economic situation of forage production operations in Churchill, Eureka, and Humboldt counties showed returns of $.89, -$45.62, and -$25.15 per acre respectively. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) is working with farmers in Churchill, Lyon, Pershing and Humboldt counties to raise tef instead of alfalfa. Demand for tef in the U.S. currently exceeds the supply. Not only is tef used in Ethiopian restaurants, it is also an important source of gluten-free flour, which is required by people who suffer from intolerance to gluten — an estimated 1 in every 133 Americans.

What Has Been Done:

Last year Cooperative Extension assisted 11 producers to grow tef grain and forage in Churchill, Lyon and Pershing counties. UNCE faculty members led Nevada tef producers to Idaho to study agronomic and harvesting techniques with longtime tef farmers and tef buyers. They also worked closely with Nevada growers on field plantings, fertility management, pest identification and harvest timing. Extension experts planted, evaluated and analyzed experimental tef fields in three locations in Lyon County, where an increasing amount of irrigation water is being sold to provide higher flows to Walker Lake.


The number of acres committed to growing tef in Nevada has increased. It tripled from 2005 to 2006 to more than 300 acres, and by 2008 there were 11 producers growing tef grain and forage on more than 1,000 acres in Churchill, Lyon and Pershing counties. As the supply has grown, Cooperative Extension has worked to establish a market for the crop. Faculty members have facilitated meetings between tef growers and three separate groups from Ethiopian communities in California and Nevada who want to supply tef to ethnic markets across the country. Although a 13 percent drop in sunlight in Western Nevada in 2008 — caused by wildfires in California in June and July — affected yields, the total Nevada tef seed production of 876,000 pounds was nearly half the seed produced in the entire country. Seed sales grossed $635 per acre with chaff sales grossing $215 per acre for a total of $850 per acre. When tef was grown exclusively as forage, the hay sold for approximately $600 per acre. What’s more, input costs were cheaper than alfalfa, and tef required a third less water. Net income from tef crops in Churchill, Pershing, Lyon and Humboldt counties equaled or exceeded average net income from alfalfa.

Printable Program Impact

Programs Program Information

Calming the Waters: Learning to Manage Western Water Conflict

Conflict has surrounded the Truckee, Carson and Walker River Basins for decades. Key issues include historical use on tribal lands, historical and current water rights, threats to water quality, and wildlife habitat protection. This program teaches youth about Nevada’s water issues and helps them develop the skills needed to address future water conflicts.

Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program

The purpose of Nevada’s Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program (FRTEP) is to improve the ability of Native American farmers and ranchers to manage their agricultural enterprises effectively, efficiently and profitably.

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and IR-4 program

This program is to test potential pesticides necessary for producing forages in Nevada and submit requests for federal testing and registration from the IR-4 program, which is a federal cooperative program established in 1963 to help the producers of minor crops obtain clearances for pest control materials on those crops. The purpose of IR-4 is to work with farmers, agriculture scientists and Cooperative Extension personnel to carry out research and petition the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to obtain tolerances for specific pesticide uses needed by minor-crop producers.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Project MAGIC

Project MAGIC is an innovative, collaborative program designed to help juvenile offenders leave the criminal justice system and become productive members of society. While participating in the program, young people ages 12 to 18 learn: positive communication skills, team building, problem solving and decision making, self-responsibility, conflict resolution, aspiration building and goal setting. Youth also select and conduct a service project designed to benefit their community. Parent sessions include the same life skills.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

Sustainable Agricultural Practices

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension conducts several sustainable agriculture programs including researching alternative crops, introducing sustainable biodiversity/multiple use of rangelands, and increasing the number of pest control materials labeled in and increasing the knowledge and implementation rate of IPM practices in Nevada.

Tef Crop Production

The purpose of this program is to introduce Nevada farmers to and help train them in the cultivation of tef, a small-seeded grain and forage crop that requires less water than alfalfa and can be more profitable. There is a strong market for tef seed, which is made into flour to make an Ethiopian flat bread known as injera, as well as for tef hay as a high-quality horse hay.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management