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Home > News, Media & Government Relations > News Releases > MDA funds 11 innovative farm ideas

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 20, 2016

MDA funds 11 innovative farm ideas

ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant program has just awarded grants to 11 new projects across the state.

“Farmers never run out of ideas when it comes to profitability, conservation, or how to make farming more satisfying,” said Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson. “This program promotes innovation by helping reduce the risk of testing new farming ideas.”

The projects, which last for two to three years, are located in all regions of the state. Topics include cover cropping, controlling invasive species with goats, bee health, novel rootstock for pear production, integrating livestock into orchards, evaluating the palatability and nutrition of corn varieties for poultry production, and more. There’s even an urban agriculture project exploring whether worm composting is an economical way to make a potting medium for greenhouse production.

All projects take place on Minnesota farms and are either led by or involve farmers as primary partners. Projects host public events in their final year to share their findings with other producers and the public. Their findings are summarized in the annual Greenbook, available at www.mda.state.mn.us/greenbook.

Media may contact project leaders directly:

County(ies) Description Contact Phone
Becker, Otter Tail Grow and test the nutrient profile and palatability of novel corn varieties for poultry. Sue Wika 218-747-2202
Big Stone Evaluate establishment, production, quality, and harvest of perennial wheatgrass/legume intercrops. Mike Jorgenson 320-273-2437
Carver, Hennepin Determine whether interrupting a honeybee hive's brood rearing reduces the number of varroa mites in the hive. Joseph Meyer 320-493-8933
Chisago, McLeod, Todd Try grafting Minnesota pear varieties onto juneberry root stock in order to decrease tree height and increase production of young pear trees. Thaddeus McCamant 218-841-9709
Fillmore Evaluate hazelnut woodchips (a byproduct of nut orchard management) for their potential as substrate for growing wine cap and shiitake mushrooms. Susan Wiegrefe 715-220-1183
Goodhue, Rice Evaluate various methods of establishing cover crops in standing corn (V5-V7) on eight farms. Brad Frazier 507-786-3913
Hennepin Find out whether worm composting on an urban farm will result in a high-quality, profitable greenhouse potting product the farm can use or sell. Caroline Devany 925-451-2819
Mille Lacs Evaluate feed value, animal gain, and soil/pasture improvements from bale grazing purchased hay. John Mesko 763-260-0209
Nicollet, Sibley Try to establish cover crops and apply liquid N simultaneously into V4-V6 stage corn in June. Keith Hartmann 507-276-0573
Rice Find out whether grazing goats during winter can reduce feed costs and control invasive species without harming desirable native plants. John Beckwith 218-464-6737 ext. 700
Winona Evaluate economic effect of integrating hogs into an apple orchard. Compare with economics of other hog production systems. Harry Hoch 507-643-6329

The competitive Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant Program has been supporting farming innovation in Minnesota for 26 years. Applications for the next round of funding will open in late summer and close in December.

CONTACT: Alauna Yust, MDA Communications
651-201-6629, alauna.yust@state.mn.us