2017 Forever Green ProjectsThe MDA received $4.7 million of Clean Water Funds to support the Forever Green Initiative at the University of Minnesota for fiscal years 2024-2025. Twenty-five research projects which focus on incorporating perennial and winter annual crops into existing agricultural practices were selected through a request for proposal process administered by the University. The MDA oversees the distribution of funds and coordinates reporting on progress results and outcomes.

The 25 projects selected for funding are listed below.

Project Title Recipient
(University of Minnesota)
$$ Project Status
Enhancement of oilseed perennial flax breeding: Development of non-shattering, highly fertile lines to increase seed yield Neil Anderson $300,000 Active
Genomics-assisted breeding of intermediate wheatgrass (Kernza®) to accelerate genetic gain and cultivar development Prabin Bajgain $299,933 Active
Development and testing of high-yielding perennial cereal rye varieties adapted to MN environments Prabin Bajgain $74,944 Active
Integrating genomic and field-based approaches to maximize fertility and continue the development of a perennial sunflower Yaniv Brandvain $145,760 Active
High-throughput phenotyping and genomics for hazelnut Lois Braun $299,994 Active
Hairy vetch cover crop breeding and selection Nancy Jo Ehlke $74,274 Active
Advancing Minnesota peas; selection for consistency in winter hardiness and protein content Steven Mulkey $150,000 Active
Breeding camelina for winter hardiness, increased yield and seed size from progeny of spring x winter parents Matthew Ott $299,992 Active
Development of winter durum germplasm for Minnesota Ahmad Sallam $75,000 Active
Breeding silflower for perennial agriculture in Minnesota Kevin Smith $150,000 Active
Implementing marker-based breeding of winter barley Kevin Smith $149,987 Active
Germplasm improvement of hard fescue for intercropped grass seed production systems in northern Minnesota Eric Watkins $74,663 Active
Pioneering sustainable agriculture with alfalfa for human consumption Zhanyou Xu $75,000 Active
Field pennycress breeding program support Julia Zhang $300,000 Active
Developing protocols for the commercial production of intermediate wheatgrass (IWG)-Peas starch blended expanded extrudates and meat analogues from IWG protein concentrate George Annor $202,284 Active
Characterization of pennycress host status of the soybean cyst nematode Senyu Chen $200,000 Active
A cohesive strategy for evaluating ecosystem benefits for Forever Green crops Jessica Gutknecht $273,504 Active
Feeding the future: Maximizing the value of alfalfa protein by controlling endogenous protease activity and evaluating the quality of all streams from protein extraction Deborah "Jo" Hueschele $339,625 Active
A systemic assessment of adopting Kernza in Minnesota’s Drinking Water Supply Management Areas through a knowledge-guided machine learning approach Zhenong Jin $349,686 Active
Do herbicides used in early harvested cropping systems influence fall-planted oilseed crop establishment and growth? Gregg Johnson $100,000 Active
Advancing Kernza, winter barley, winter pea, and silflower through agronomic studies on establishment and high-throughput phenotyping for crop quality Jacob Jungers $338,260 Active
Developing silflower for production systems in Minnesota Kevin Smith $273,925 Active
Greenhouse studies of enhanced nitrogen-fixing endophyte bacteria with pennycress Brett Barney $50,000 Active
Determining the potential of perennial chickpea and winter lentil in the Upper Midwest Gary Muehlbauer $49,347 Active
The effect of regular consumption of Intermediate wheatgrass-based products on measures of gut health Levi Teigen $48,709 Active