MDA celebrates 20 years of sustainable farming innovations
For 20 years, Minnesota farmers have led the nation in sustainable agriculture innovations, while increasing efficiency and profitability.
These nation-leading innovative projects are now highlighted in the 20th anniversary edition of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Greenbook.
The Greenbook features the results of on-farm demonstration and research projects that test new approaches to raising crops and livestock as well as marketing agricultural products.
Since 1989, 270 farmers and researchers have participated in the program.
These projects are funded by the MDA's Sustainable Agriculture On-Farm Demonstration Grant program and Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Gene Hugoson says the program has provided an incentive for people to pursue research and innovations that they might otherwise not have done.
"These farmers have brought a multitude of ideas and twenty years of hard work to help make Minnesota agriculture more environmentally friendly and profitable," Hugoson said.
"And through the Greenbook, they have all shared their invaluable knowledge and experiences, their successes and challenges, with the rest of the farming community."
Greenbook 2009: 20 Years of Farmers Growing Ideas highlights 23 Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant projects in five major topic areas: alternative markets and specialty crops; energy; fruits and vegetables; cropping systems and soil fertility; and livestock.
Among the projects are strategies for producting on-farm biodiesel from canola, aerial sedding of winter rye, evaluating the potential of hybrid willow as a sustainable biomass energy alternative in west central Minnesota, using intercropping within a tunnel to achieve maximum vegetable production and evaluating methods to extend the livestock grazing season.