North Central SARE From the Field

North Central SARE From the Field

North Central SARE From the Field

Curious about a particular topic? Search all SARE products in the Learning Center.

Rural Revitalization through Farm-Based Enterprise

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

For decades, John Allen has helped farmers develop business skills and strategies, improving their profitability and helping to revitalize rural communities.

Iowa State University's Small Meat Processors' Working Group Produces Consumer Guide to Whole Animal Buying

Type: North Central SARE Grantee-Produced Info Product

The  “Beef and Pork Whole Animal Buying Guide” is for consumers and producers who are interested in learning more about buying and marketing local beef or pork. It brings together useful information into a single resource.

Dryland Cover Cropping Boosts Yields

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Nebraska farmers Keith and Brian Berns found they could use cover crops in dryland farming to increase corn yields, and now are sharing their knowledge.

Cutting Edge Research: Helping Bees Help Themselves

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

University of Minnesota Entomologist Marla Spivak is advancing innovative integrated pest management strategies that help bees fight pests.

Mortenson Ranch's Range Restoration Video

Type: North Central SARE Multimedia

In this video, NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant recipient, Todd Mortenson, describes some of his family’s many conservation efforts on their ranch in South Dakota.

Video: Improving Forage Production and Quality with Native Legumes

Type: North Central SARE Multimedia

NCR-SARE grant recipient, Craig Maier, discusses the research his team conducted to learn more about improving forage production and quality with native legumes in grazed warm-season grass stands. 

Ohio Milk and Cheese Initiative Explores New Market Opportunities in Ohio

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

To determine the level of interest and opportunities for the production of sheep milk and cheeses in Ohio, Abbe and Anderson Turner helped form the Ohio Sheep Milk and Cheese Initiative (OSMCI).

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Researcher Shares Grafting Techniques with Agricultural Educators

Vegetable Grafting Training for Agricultural Professionals

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A Lincoln University researcher is training extension educators on emerging plant grafting technology and the relevant physiology.

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Researchers Study Forage Chicory for Parasite Reduction in Sheep

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Sheep and goat production is a growing enterprise for small and limited resource farmers in the North Central region. While small ruminants (sheep and goats) are adaptable to many different production systems and can be raised with relatively few inputs, they present production challenges. In Ohio, researchers are examining the use of forage chicory as part of a gastrointestinal nematode parasites control strategy for sheep.

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Video: Cover Crop SmartMix Calculator

Type: North Central SARE Multimedia

SARE grantees and brothers, Keith and Brian Berns, have a cover-crop seed business, and have created a SmartMix Calculator, an online spreadsheet that calculates seed quantities and cost, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (C:N), nitrogen-fixation potential and other factors for mixes of nearly 40 cover-crop species, including legumes, brassicas, grasses and broadleaf crops.

Sustainable Renewable Energy Training for Agriculture and Natural Resource Professionals

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Marin Byrne and Jim Kleinschmit’s series of six training sessions for more than 340 attendees focused on sustainability and renewable energy for natural resource and agriculture educators throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. Farm field days, tours, and workshops addressed topics such as alternative bioenergy crops and production methods, whole farm planning for renewable energy, and on-farm energy production and efficiency.

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Educational Curricula and Professional Development Training for Energy Efficient Production Practices

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

David Clay’s long-term goals for his project were to increase producers’ awareness of the importance of determining costs of production, as well as conducting energy efficiency and environmental sustainability assessments during long-term planning. Clay edited curricula suitable for use in training sessions and conducted seven related workshops and 31 presentations.

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Impact of Biomass Removal for Bioenergy

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

The rapid increase in ethanol production from corn grain, and the proposed use of crop residues for ethanol production poses significant challenges in increasing awareness and providing needed training to extension educators and agency staff to address the potential environmental impacts of intensive corn production and corn residue use. For this reason, Mahdi Al-Kaisi conducted an educational training program on residue management through a series of workshops, webinars, and field training sessions across Iowa.

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Greenhouse Energy Conservation Strategies and Alternative Fuels

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Many greenhouse growers are looking for options to reduce their energy costs, but they don’t always understand which options will provide the greatest return on investment. For his project, Scott Sanford developed curriculum materials, extension bulletins, resource lists, and a spreadsheet model for educators to use for delivering programming on energy management and conservation for greenhouse production.

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Biofuels and Community Participation

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Extension and other natural resource educators can provide educational programming on renewable energy and potential impacts at the community level, and can be facilitators of community discussions about renewable energy. Sharon Lezberg provided training materials to approximately 100 extension, NRCS educators, and community stakeholders on ways to engage community members and stakeholders in assessing proposed bioenergy developments.

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Integrated Alternative Energy and Livestock Production Systems

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Michael Siepel’s SARE grant project provided training on selected alternative energy topics, emphasizing interconnections between livestock production, renewable energy, and energy conservation. Attendees at Seipel’s first annual conference learned about grassy biomass, woody biomass, wind energy, financing bioenergy projects, and case studies of bioenergy enterprises.

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Storage and Utilization of Ethanol Co-Products by Small Cattle Operations

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Francis John Hay’s SARE project focused on storage techniques for wet ethanol co-products and how those co-products could be used in small cattle operations. For his project, Hay prepared educators to teach ethanol co-products storage techniques. Conferences attracted nearly 300 educators from ten states. Written materials and videos extended the reach of this project through the internet with more than 30,000 individual downloads of educational materials.

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Michigan Researches Use Flowering Plant Strips to Support Beneficial Insects and Increase Crop Productivity

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Beneficial insects are valued on farms for their abilities to perform services like pollination and pest control. Researchers at Michigan State University are exploring whether plantings of native Midwest flowers can support beneficial insects and lead to improved crop productivity and quality.

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Researchers and Educators Collaborate to Teach Youth about Cover Crops

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Across the region, farmers are planting cover crops,  method of revitalizing soil, curbing erosion, and managing pests. Steve Sutera, an Extension educator at South Dakota State University (SDSU), saw an opportunity to bring together Bon Homme County’s Extension service, FFA Chapter, 4-H Club, and ongoing research at SDSU.

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Using Hydroponic Green Forage to Reduce Feed Costs in Natural Pork Production

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Due to the rising cost of feed, many small scale pork producers are exploring alternatives in order to increase their profit margins. At Donnelly Farms, Jack Donnelly is producing hydroponically-grown green forage for his hogs, and has been able to reduce feed outlay and increase their bottom line.

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Source: Edible Madison, Vanessa Herald 

This story features NCR-SARE grant recipient, Julie Engel, and her Coney Garth rabbits. With her SARE project, Engel developed a system for raising rabbits on pasture and built handling equipment that consistently and efficiently herds her rabbit does in a stress-free manner.

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Julie Engel

“The rabbits and the project have stretched me way beyond where...

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Good Natured Family Farms Brings Together Producers and Local Businesses to Market Local Foods

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Good Natured Family Farms is an alliance of more than 150 family farms and small businesses in the Kansas City, MO area.  In 2008, they received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant for their Bistro Kids Farm 2 School program, which provides students with healthy school lunches from local farmers and education about sustainable agriculture. This video provides a brief overview of their work.

Ranch ownership transitions can be complex, involving issues such as generational needs, tax issues, social attitudes, and recreational landowner competition.  In an effort to help simplify the process, Calvin Adams of Beloit, KS, Cade Rensink of Ada, KS, and Ted Alexander of Medicine Lodge, KS, and the Kansas Ranch and Range Management Internship Program are working to get experienced and well-trained young ranchers back on the ranch through a summer internship program. 

These ranchers believe that successful ranches are vital in Kansas, and see internships as a good method for passing...

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Toolkit Supports Livestock Decisions

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

The Agricultural Innovation and Commercialization Center at Purdue University has developed a Comparative Decision Support toolkit online resource to assist with entry-level decision-making about small-scale livestock enterprises.  

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Farm in North Central Michigan is the First to Produce Canola Oil in the State

B&B Farms find success in first season as canola growers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Dan and Bonnie Blackledge have started a canola oil business on their farm in Marion, Michigan. B & B Farms Canola Oil’s first pressing was only about 50 gallons, but it stands out as the first canola oil grown and pressed in Michigan.

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Rancher Internship Program Invests in the Future of Kansas Agriculture

Type: From the Field Profile

Ranch ownership transitions can be complex, involving issues such as generational needs, tax issues, social attitudes, and recreational landowner competition.  In an effort to help simplify the process, Calvin Adams of Beloit, KS, Cade Rensink of Ada, KS, and Ted Alexander of Medicine Lodge, KS, and the Kansas Ranch and Range Management Internship Program are working to get experienced and well-trained young ranchers back on the ranch through a summer internship program.

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Youth Grow Fresh Food with Edible Avalon's Summer Youth Program

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

In southeastern Michigan, a dedicated non-profit organization is growing and delivering fresh produce to low-income residents through a youth program. “Edible Avalon” is an organic community garden and education program in association with Avalon Housing, the largest provider of permanent, supportive affordable housing for extremely low-income residents in Washtenaw County, MI. 

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EverCrisp: A New Apple Variety in the Midwest

Type: From the Field Profile

A grassroots apple-breeding program has released its first apple variety, EverCrisp. The variety was bred by the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA), a group of more than 140 apple growers who are interested in developing new varieties for the Midwest.

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2013-14 Cover Crops Survey Analysis

Cover Crop Report Documents Yield Boost, Soil Benefits and Ag Retailer Roles

Type: North Central SARE Presentation

For the second year in a row, a national survey of farmers has documented a yield boost from the use of cover crops in corn and soybeans, as well as a wide variety of other benefits. This analysis includes results from that survey, conducted by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and funded by NCR-SARE.

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Producers and Researchers Collaborate to Improve Soil Health in North Dakota

Southwest North Dakota Soil Health Demonstration

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Soil—and whole farms—have been renewed through soil-improving practices like cover crops and no till. In the semiarid plains of western North Dakota, a team of producers and researchers are working to boost soil health for improved yield stability, farm income, and natural resource health of farms.

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Nebraska Nonprofit Teaches Youth and Community About Sustainability

Young Urban Farmers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A nonprofit organization that has made a difference for beginning, immigrant, and refugee farmers in Lincoln, Nebraska is now reaching out to youth.

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Ohio MarketReady Team Connects Producers to Markets

Retail Ready & Wholesale Ready

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Proactive marketing strategies have proven to be a key to success for many agricultural enterprises, and a team of researchers and educators in Ohio are working to connect willing markets to quality sources of food.

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Michigan State Graduate Student Explores the Benefits of Adding Cover Crops to Vegetable Production

Cereal-Legume Cover Crops

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Cover crops can help slow erosion, improve soil, smother weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, help control many pests, and bring a host of other benefits to farms across the country. A graduate student at Michigan State University wanted to optimize seeding rates for cereal-legume cover crop mixtures and found tradeoffs in services based on treatment.

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From Fruit to Fuel

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Missouri farmer Dan West turns his waste fruit into valuable ethanol.

Organic Broccoli Produced to Meet a Growing Need for Locally Grown Foods

Scaling Up Local Broccoli

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Although broccoli is a popular staple vegetable that can be harvested for 20 weeks in the upper Midwest, the Twin Cities was experiencing a shortage of locally grown produce every summer. Local farmers found it difficult to scale up production to take advantage of demand.

A group of farms was able to attain a two-year agreement to guarantee the purchase of 100 percent of the satellite farms’ broccoli crop at an agreed-upon minimum price if production acreage, production schedule, and quality standards were met. Throughout the project, data were collected about yields, economic performance, labor inputs, product quality, and more.

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Iowa Farmer Mechanizes Planting and Maintenance Tasks in Vegetables with Companion Plants

Maintaining Companion Plantings while Mechanizing in Diverse, Small-Farm Vegetable Operations

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

As vegetable production on farms increase to meet demand and increase profits, weeding and other tasks that were done with hand tools have become more labor intensive. In a monoculture planting, where all plants have the same spacing, it’s easy to use equipment to reduce labor. In a diverse system with companion plants, using equipment is challenging and requires more planning and different implements. The Genuine Faux Farm is working to identify equipment and develop techniques to mechanize planting and maintenance tasks in vegetable plantings with companion plants.

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Research Team Studies Biofuel Cropping System to Increase Crop Profitability

Sustainability of a Short-Rotation Woody Biofuel System Compared to Grass Biofuel and Grain Cropping Systems

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

The North Central region has over 11 million acres of claypan and claypan-like soil areas that are disproportionate sources of nonpoint pollution and soil quality degradation when used for grain production.

Hank Stelzer wanted to determine whether a short-rotation willow biofuel cropping system on claypan soil could improve crop profitability, but establishing a willow crop during the 2011 and 2012 growing seasons on a Centralia, Missouri, research site was especially difficult because of severe drought.

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Good Agricultural Practices for Agricultural Professionals

Developing Extension Competence in Good Agricultural Practices and Farm Food Safety Planning for Fruit and Vegetable Growers in Kansas and Missouri

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Due to recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, consumers are concerned about food safety, and an increasing number of wholesale and institutional buyers are requiring growers to have GAPs certification, which focuses on reducing microbial risks to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cary Rivard and Jeffrey Callaway developed a program to train agricultural professionals, including Extension agents, Department of Agriculture personnel, and other agricultural educators, in Kansas and Missouri on how to help fruit and vegetable growers develop and implement farm food safety plans and obtain GAPs certification.

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Growing Power Video

Type: North Central SARE Multimedia

This video features NCR-SARE grant recipient Will Allen, founder of Growing Power. 

Iowa Student Studies Woodchip Bioreactors for Nitrate Reduction in Agricultural Drainage

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Tile drainage reduces soil moisture levels for optimal crop
growth, but there is concern about nitrate loss from these systems. Because the water quality of regional streams, rivers, and lakes can be negatively impacted by nitrate in drainage, researchers at Iowa State University are studying several practices that can be done to reduce the amount of nitrate in drainage water.

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2012 Cover Crop Survey Analysis

Type: North Central SARE Presentation

Cover crop adoption has been increasing rapidly in the last 5 years, with an estimated 1.5 to 2.0 million acres of cover crops planted in the U.S. in 2012. To learn more about this trend, during the winter of 2012-13, the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) carried out an NCR-SARE-funded survey of farmers who have grown cover crops. This analysis includes results from that survey.

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Value Added Vegetables

Live Fermentation

Type: From the Field Profile

Fermentation is an ancient method of preserving fresh vegetables and other foods for later use. It is accomplished due to lactic acid-producing bacteria, which lower the pH of these foods.

Chris Chmiel, co-owner of Integration Acres Ltd., applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant and learned that fermentation could be profitable and add value to his vegetable production.

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Alternative Parasite Treatment

Small Ruminant Anthelmintics

Type: From the Field Profile

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Family Farm Compares Sweet Corn Varieties

Studying Consumer and Producer Satisfaction

Type: From the Field Profile

Marissa Kruthaup and her brother started selling produce at the farmers market when their family’s home garden produced too many melons one year. Today, they own and run Kruthaup Family Farm CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which operates on their parents’ 70-acre farm. In order to keep her family business thriving, Marissa compared different sweet corn production systems.

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Profitable Rabbit Production

Establishing a Commercial Distribution Channel

Type: From the Field Profile

Rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium when compared to most of the meats eaten in the U.S. Rabbit meat has great potential to feed people in developing countries and could be promoted in the U.S. as a healthful, natural meat and a small farm asset (Fanatico, Anne. “Rabbit Production.” ATTRA. October 2005).

On his family farm in Indianapolis, Nick Carter wanted to know whether meat rabbitries could be a new revenue opportunity for small family farms. He applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to conduct a feasibility study.

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Low Tunnel Strategies

Microclimate Modification and Early Vegetable Production

Type: From the Field Profile

Producers have few options when challenged by climate limitations. One frost can substantially damage a crop, but farmers need to plant as early as possible to obtain the maximum growing degree days for their crop to produce well. As a graduate student at Michigan State University, Rebekah Struck Faivor wanted to help improve profitability of fresh market vegetables in Michigan and the North Central region, so she applied for an NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant to develop, test, and demonstrate new low tunnel strategies for frost protection and early harvest in Michigan.

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Scaling Up by Developing a Planting Cart

Improving Worker Comfort and Efficiency

Type: From the Field Profile

Perkins’ Good Earth Farm is a small family farm that operates on 19 acres. They currently grow only one-quarter acre of organic garlic but hope to increase their productivity in this area by 50 percent. Two major challenges in achieving this goal are the cost of additional labor and worker comfort during planting and harvesting. Dan and Julie Perkins applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to explore a way to improve worker comfort and efficiency.

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Niche Nuts

Nut Crop Production, Processing, and Marketing in the North Central Region

Type: From the Field Profile

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, America’s top nut producers are California, producing nearly 90% of tree nuts in America; Georgia, New Mexico, and Texas, raising 75% of America’s pecan crop; and Oregon, raising the majority of America’s hazelnut crop.

Kurt Belser is the owner of the The Wingnuttery in Albany, Ohio, where he grows, produces, and wild harvests hickory nuts, black walnuts, chestnuts and hazelnuts. In 2012, he received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to create a prototype regional-scale nut production, processing, and value-adding system in Southeast Ohio. His goal is to create a regional-scale nut processing facility that will be replicable for other areas in the region, and wherever nuts are a viable crop.

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Urban Farmers Unite to Market Sustainable Goods

Creating a Collaborative Marketing Presence

Type: From the Field Profile

Four urban farms in Indianapolis have created IndyGrown, a collaborative marketing presence for urban farms. Each farm is distinct in size, location, and personality, but all share similar farming practices and philosophies. Using sustainable growing practices, IndyGrown farms are creating green space in the urban core and repurposing vacant land in Indianapolis.

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Aquaponics in the Classroom

Using Aquaponics to Teach Core Science Concepts

Type: From the Field Profile

Students at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy are being exposed to their core science concepts in a new way. They are learning biology, chemistry, physics, and other core scientific concepts through hands-on modules based on an aquaponics system.

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Artificial Insemination

Training Farmers to Breed Sheep

Type: From the Field Profile

Artificial insemination (AI) has become widely popular in breeding livestock, because it allows farmers to make faster genetic improvement in their animals, enhance biosecurity, and decrease breeding related costs of production. Despite these benefits, some farmers are hesitant to use sheep breeding becaue sheep have a complex reproductive anatomy. Farmer Don Brown and Dr. Craig Zimmerly received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to test the success rate of AI and share information on AI techniques in sheep.

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On-Farm Soybean Trials

Extension Educator Identifies Promissing Organic Soybean Varieties

Type: From the Field Profile

Organic soybeans are commonly used for food grade products, yet these seed systems have struggled historically. According to the US Department of Agriculture, organic soybeans account for less than one percent of soybeans produced in the United States (agcensus.usda.gov, 2007). Michigan has significant organic food grade soybean production, but non-GMO soybean varieties are becoming less available due to many factors including seed contamination, limited breeding programs, conflicting selection criteria, and lack of awareness and communication.

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Bovine Mastitis Treatment

Professor Tests Non-Antibiotic Therapies

Type: From the Field Profile

While mastitis is the most frequent disease condition in dairy cattle, the most common treatment for it -antibiotics- aren’t used in organic milk production. Mastitis affects animal health, longevity in the herd, and the production of quality milk. Although non-antibiotic products for mastitis have been marketed, limited data is available regarding the safety and efficacy of these products.

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Multi-Farm Cooperative Model

Small-Scale Farmers Create Cooperative to Improve Distribution

Type: From the Field Profile

In 2013, Monica Bongue received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to develop a small farm cooperative food distribution model in Wooster, Ohio. By 2014, Bongue and a group of farmers formed a not-for-profit cooperative registered in the state of Ohio as Farm Roots Connection Cooperative.

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Managing Drought Risk On the Ranch

The Role of Drought Preparedness in Improving the Sustainability of Great Plains Ranches

Type: From the Field Profile

Producers throughout the nation continue to grow increasingly concerned about water scarcity. Farmers, ranchers, and agricultural educators are exploring new approaches to the challenges associated with water shortage and drought.

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2015 Cover Crop Survey Analysis

Cover Crops Continue to Boost Yields and Expand Acreage

Type: North Central SARE Presentation

For the third year in a row, a national survey of farmers has shown that cover crops improve corn and soybean yields. The survey also found that cover crop acreage per farm more than doubled over the past five years. The survey was conducted by the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) with funding from USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA).

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Raising Locally-Adapted and Disease Resistant Queens in Illinois

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

To help increase the prevalence of locally-raised bees in Illinois, Stu Jacobson used a SARE grant to start the Illinois Queen Initiative (IQI). The organization provides training to beekeepers on how to raise queens that are adapted to Illinois' harsh winters, and resistant to disease and the varroa mite.

Developing Hazelnut Germplasm for the Upper Midwest

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Researchers are working to develop a viable bush-type hazelnut industry in the Upper Midwest by combining the productivity of European hazelnuts with the disease resistance and winter hardiness of American hazelnuts.

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Improving Pasture Quality with Cover Crops in North Dakota

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Donnie and Trisha Feiring at Feiring’s Cattle Company in Beach, North Dakota are utilizing techniques such as cover crops, bale grazing, and high stock density grazing to improve their pasture land without tilling and replanting.

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Researchers Aim to Conserve Bees for Michigan Berry Growers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Researchers at Michigan State University are developing best management strategies for conserving wild bee communities for Michigan's blueberry farms.

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Nonprofit Works to Protect Farms with Legal Education

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With support from SARE, Farm Commons is working to foster the discussions and connections that build a strong legal backbone for farmers and their communities.

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Developing a Goat Meat Market in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With SARE support, Tom and Susan Barnes are working to expand the goat meat market and goat production in the Black Hills region of South Dakota. 

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Missouri Youth Gain Hands-On Experience in Sustainable Ag

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Amelia LaMair received an NCR-SARE Youth Educator grant to teach students from Lutie School District about sustainable agriculture in Theodosia, Missouri, where 4th graders measure plant growth in raised beds, kindergarteners have their own “kindergarden,” and middle school and high school agriculture classes take field trips to nearby sustainable farms.

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Soil Scientist Makes Case for “Active C” Soil Test

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Researcher Christine Sprunger studies how farmers view soil carbon and the barriers they face when working to improve soil fertility; she argues that the active C test should be more widely available and offered at soil testing laboratories.

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2016 Cover Crop Survey Analysis

Cover Crop Survey Reflects Enthusiasm for the Soil-Saving Practice

Type: North Central SARE Presentation

Insight from 2,020 farmers (download) from across the country reflected enthusiasm for cover crops and—for the fourth year in a row—found a yield boost in corn and soybeans following cover crops. Multi-year data shows the yield boost increases as cover crops are planted year after year, a revelation that points to an appealing long-term benefit of the conservation practice. The survey offers data unavailable elsewhere, providing a vital glimpse into farmers’ use of and perceptions about cover crops: Previous SARE/CTIC Cover Crop Surveys have been used by researchers and farm groups, and even cited in Congressional testimony.

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Management of the Spotted Wing Drosophila Using High Tunnels

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Erik Gundacker helps manage the high tunnels at Scenic Valley and applied for an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant in 2014 to monitor the presence of spotted wing drosophila (SWD). SWD is a small fly that will damage ripe or ripening fruits such as cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, apples, blueberries, and grapes.

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Finishing Time and Weights of Grass-fed Beef Animals

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

For more than 20 years, Jane Jewett has owned WillowSedge Farm near Palisade, Minneosta. She and her family raise and direct-market pork, poultry, lamb, and grass-fed beef on 113 acres. An increasing interest in grass-fed beef operations led Jewett to make the transition to grass-fed beef in 2008.

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Developing Commercial Elderberry Production in Minnesota

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Elderberries are a rapidly growing specialty crop in the Midwest. They have multiple functions in a cropping system because they are perennial, ornamental, a wildlife food source, and they can be planted in low-lying wet areas as a buffer. They can be used to produce value-added products like jams, jellies, wines, and juices.

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Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

In northwest Missouri, a practice known as terracing is used to prevent ditches. Michael Willis, a beginning farmer in northwest Missouri, says that cover crops can reduce the need for terraces, but terraces still prove to be important to prevent ditch formation during the transitional phase from traditional no-till to no-till with cover crops. 

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Adapting Cover Crops to Northern Climate Conventional Cropping Systems

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Northeast Minnesota is home to a large beef cow-calf sector, several dairy farms, and an increasing amount of cash grain farming. In each of these types of operations, annual cultivation of corn, soybeans, oats, and barley is common. 

Annual cultivation of these crops can lead to high rates of nutrient leaching and soil erosion, decreased crop diversity, decreased soil aggregate stability, decreased soil organic matter, and reduced soil biology and overall soil health. The utilization of cover crops has been shown in many cases to alleviate these problems.

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Promoting Sustainable Biological Control of Soybean Aphid by Examining the Effect of Biodiversity and Releases of Parasitoid Wasps

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

George Heimpel and his research group at the University of Minnesota have been working on biological control of the soybean aphid since 2001. They have used a number of methods, including releases of specialized aphid parasitoids from Asia, and promoting native biological control through plant diversification strategies. 

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New Buckwheat Varieties for Greater Sustainability

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Anne Ongstad is a managing partner at The Whitman Ranch, a 13,500 acre operation in the rolling prairie of central North Dakota. Approximately 4,000 acres are in certified organic production of flax, wheat, buckwheat, millet, sunflower, alfalfa, and oat/pea hay. The rest of the acres are in pasture and used for uncertified beef production. 

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Developing a Mob Grazing System to Improve the Sustainability and Profitability of a Cattle Operation in North Dakota

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Jeremiah and Krista Reiser run an all grass operation on 2,700 acres of native prairie in central North Dakota. They run a herd of leased and owned spring calving cows and also custom graze the excess grass that is not planned for their own herd.

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Integrating Host Plant Resistance and Insecticides for Soybean Aphid Management

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

In 2013, University of Minnesota graduate student Anthony Hanson, received a $9,938 Graduate Student grant to determine if there are combined effects of insecticide application and using resistant plants for soybean aphid control, with the hope that the efficacy of insecticides would be improved on resistant plants.

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Making Goats Milk Soap Business Sustainable by Implementing Standard Manufacturing and Testing Protocols

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Penny and Jay Adler own and operate the 444Farm in Hazel, South Dakota. They have 40 acres (half in wetlands) where they have implemented sustainable grazing practices by replacing water systems, re-sowing pastures, installing high tensile fences, and creating paddocks for rotational grazing. They raise dairy goats and make goat’s milk soap and lotion.

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Mobile Farmers Market

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Dream of Wild Health — a program of Peta Wakan Tipi — was established in 1998 as a way to “promote health in the Native community by expanding knowledge of and access to healthy indigenous foods and medicines.” At the Dream of Wild Health Farm they grow rare, indigenous seeds that have been gifted to the farm, increasing the seed stock for future generations. They also offer age-appropriate and culturally focused summer garden programs to Native youth, ages 8-18, who learn about healthy lifestyles and sustainable farming.

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Confinement Building Redesign Sheds ‘Sunlight’ on Animal Welfare

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Paul Sobocinski  has a 240 acre crop and livestock farm that includes hogs and cattle. In 2001, he received a SARE grant for the conversion of an existing pole barn to a deep bedded sow and piglet nursery. In 2012 he received a second NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant for $7,450 to renovate an existing 24 by 64 foot confinement building with a partial pit to make the building suitable as a straw-based, animal-welfare-friendly growing unit.

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Reduced Pesticide Fly Control in Feedlots and Native Rangeland to Conserve Dung Beetles and Benefit Beef and Sheep Production

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Linda Simmons is a beef and sheep producer in Twin Brooks, South Dakota. Beef and sheep producers in northeastern South Dakota depend largely on native rangeland, and there are several species of flies that can cause serious economic losses, including the horn fly. Simmons is concerned that dependence on pesticide use has resulted in pesticide resistance and a reduction in the populations of beneficial insects.

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Squash in Sustainable Food Production

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Sue Isbell is a 4-H Youth Development Agent with NDSU Extension Service in Sioux County, ND. In 2013, she received an NCR-SARE Youth Educator grant to work with youth from three Tribal communities across North Dakota on activities about sustainable agriculture, local foods, gardening methods, marketing, and concepts and practices of breeding and seed saving.

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Increasing Varietal Suitability and Availability of Cowpea and Forage Radish Cover Crop Seed for Northern Climates

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With support from a $199,776 Research and Education grant, the Northern Plains Sustainable Agriculture Society Farm Breeding Club and university partners at NDSU, SDSU, UW-Madison, and the University of Puerto Rico, have been evaluating cowpeas and daikon radish from around the world for use and seed production in the Dakotas. On-farm evaluation, selection, and evolutionary participatory breeding is being conducted on forage radish on certified organic and low-input farms in ND, SD, and WI. 

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Mob Grazing Increases Efficiency and Profitability of Livestock Production

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Mob grazing is a recent development in grazing management that uses extremely high stocking densities for short periods of time to improve soil health, pasture productivity and carrying capacity. Alexander “Sandy” Smart is a professor of Natural Resource Management in Range Science at South Dakota State University. He has a passion for the preservation of our natural grasslands and the people who make their living from it.

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Utilizing Cover Crops to Increase Productivity, Health and Vigor on Tame Grass Pasture

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Donnie Feiring owns and operates Feiring’s Cattle Co. in Beach, ND, a 120-head registered Black Angus cow calf operation. They also run 35 head of commercial yearling heifers.

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Big Bluestem Management Using High Density/Short Duration Grazing

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Big Bluestem is a warm season, perennial bunchgrass with blue-green stems four to eight feet tall. It has been referred to as “ice cream for cows.” Leslea and Brad Hodgson own and operate Root Prairie Galloways, where they raise Galloway beef cows and have big bluestem pastures that they want to protect from the encroachment of weeds into the bare areas between the grass clumps.

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Adjusting your Farm Plan to Avoid the Bumps in the Road

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

The Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota (SFA) supports the development and enhancement of sustainable farming systems through farmer-to-farmer networking, innovation, demonstration, and education. In 2012, SFA received a $165,294 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to work on two programs, Adjust 2015 and the New Farm Reality Check™.

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South Dakota Rancher Explores Sustainable Livestock Fly Control

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Linda Simmons used support from an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to experiment with various reduced-pesticide fly control systems on her ranch in South Dakota. She wanted to reduce the flies while conserving beneficial insects, especially the dung beetle.

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Non-Profit Brings Conservation Strategies to Women Landowners

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

In 2010, Holcomb and Women, Food & Agriculture Network (WFAN) received an NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to develop their Women Caring for the Land program, which works to inform and support women landowners in working with their tenants to improve soil and water conservation. By 2013, WFAN and Holcomb were ready to share WFAN’s Women Caring for the Land curriculum with other agriculture educators, and used an NCR-SARE Professional Development Program grant to provide conservation agency and non-profit staffers with a professional development training on their Women Caring for the Land rationale and methodology.

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Indiana School Raises Apples and Awareness

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A few years ago, a small farm-to-school apple tasting took place at James A. Cole Elementary in Lafayette, Indiana in conjunction with Wea Creek Orchard. Later that day, Cole students took more apples off the lunch lines than ever before. They planted 12 disease resistant apple trees on school grounds, and today their school orchard is part of the grade level curriculum.

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Minnesota Researchers Spill the Beans on Pulses

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Pulses (also known as grain legumes), such as beans and peas, are gluten-free, high in fiber and protein, low in fat, and nutritionally a good complement to grain-based diets. The can also play and important role in crop diversification on the farm. At the University of Minnesota, researcher Craig Sheaffer and the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships (RSDP) received SARE support to bring more agronomic and marketing resources to organic, edible legumes. 

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2017 Cover Crop Survey Analysis

Cover Crops Boost Yields and Weed Control

Type: North Central SARE Presentation

Following the use of cover crops, farmers reported increased yields of corn, soybeans and wheat, and improvement in the control of herbicide-resistant weeds, according to a nationwide survey conducted by SARE and partner organizations. In addition, the survey of 2,012 farmers showed acreage planted in cover crops has nearly doubled over the past five years.

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Urban Farmers Focus on Soil Health for Sustainable Intensification

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With support from an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant, urban farmers Adam and Melissa Millsap started to work on a method for getting crop residues to rapidly decompose in place, hoping that they could drastically reduce the labor and tillage required to return nutrients to their soil.

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Tribal Educators Gather for Sustainable Agriculture Workshops

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Dan Cornelius was searching for a way to promote knowledge development and sharing among educators working directly with American Indian farmers, ranchers, and other food producers. Cornelius applied for and received a $75,000 NCR-SARE Professional Development Program (PDP) grant to conduct a sustainable agricultural workshop series for Tribal educators.

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Non-Profit and Producers Partner Up Around Agroforestry

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With support from a $29,957 NCR-SARE Partnership grant, Keefe Keeley and the Savanna Institute had an opportunity to work with four farmers to research crop performance, pests, and pollinator activity in agroforestry systems.

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Non-Profit Shines Light on the Bison Advantage

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Jim Matheson and the National Bison Association received a $103,675 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to conduct a program called The Bison Advantage Outreach and Education Program. With their project funds, they created a "Bison Advantage" curriculum, supported bison- specific research on pasture management protocols, and developed the second edition of The Bison Producer’s Handbook.

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Tomato Variety Trials for Flavor, Quality, and Agronomic Performance

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison plant scientist, Julie Dawson, says tomatoes can be a potentially high-return crop for diversified vegetable farmers. In 2014, Dawson received a $199,866 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to work with graduate student Kitt Healy to conduct organic and low-input field trials investigating tomato varieties for optimal economic and environmental sustainability on two research stations and six farms. 

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The Viability of Small Scale Aquaponics in Urban and Rural Underserved Communities

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Combining concepts from both aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponics systems produce both fish and plants. Greg Fripp has been building closed, recirculating aquaponics systems for small and emerging farms since 1999 with his company Whispering Roots. In addition to producing food, Fripp believes aquaponic systems can help improve education, increase personal income, and develop community centered solutions to significant economic, nutritional and health disparities. 

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Growing Mushrooms on Local Agricultural Byproducts

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Mushroom-growing seems to be increasing in popularity for producers who are looking to diversify their crop production strategy. Wakarusa Valley Farm is a family farm that cultivates organic vegetables, fruits, and mushrooms in Lawrence, Kansas. They wanted to see if they could grow mushroom substrate locally instead of purchasing and shipping their substrate from Colorado. 

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Marcoot Jersey Creamery Comprehensive Food Safety Program

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was passed in 2011, farmers across the country recognized a need to develop a food safety plan. Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, Illinois was no exception. In 2013, Marcoot family member, Beth Marcoot, applied for and received a NCRSARE Farmer Rancher grant to develop a food safety and defense program that could be useful to other producers in the dairy industry.

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The Economic Analysis of Cover Crops, Soil Health, the Role of Livestock and Impact on Moisture

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

 In 2014, three farm families in Nebraska and Iowa received a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to study a variety of economic indicators related to cover crop use on their farms. At the time that they applied for the grant, they had no way to know that the project would be impacted by the 45” of rain they would receive in 2015. While the project was inconclusive on cash crop yield gains and water usage, the team was able to document how all that moisture affected their fields and crops:

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Development of Cost and Labor Effective Produce Sanitation Methods for Small Farms

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Orr and Mark Straw operate a diversified family farm in Indiana called Strawridge Farm. They recently converted a 10,000 square foot greenhouse into a hydroponic vegetable operation, growing early tomatoes for farmers markets and English (seedless) cucumbers for restaurants through a state-wide distributor. In 2014, Orr received a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to evaluate multiple cost and labor effective methods for washing and sanitizing produce that needs gentle handling, like English cucumbers and tomatoes. They developed two different methods for washing and sanitizing that save time, energy, water, and chemical sanitizer.

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Apples for Artisanal Cider: Understanding the Characteristics of Single Varietals

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A couple of the producers who  have contributed to the growth of apple cider, are Wisconsinites Marie and Matt Raboin, who made their first few gallons of cider in 2010. They planted their first trees in 2014, and now have more than 1,000 trees, but they reached a barrier in their cider production when they noticed the scarcity of information about specific cider apple qualities. In 2016, the Raboins received a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to determine which trees and apples would yield high-quality ciders.

Creating a Depository of Local Honey Bee Strains From Feral Swarms and Demonstrating a Sustainable Beekeeping Model Using Horizontal Hives and Bee-...

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Dr. Leo Sharashkin, a beekeeper in Ava, Missouri, says farmers become discouraged from adding bees to their operations due to bee stock issues, costly beekeeping equipment, and complicated management methods. Sharashkin maintains a stationary apiary with more than three dozen hives. In 2015, he applied for and received a NCRSARE Farmer Rancher grant to develop and share his solution to starting an apiary based on catching and propagating local bee stock, using bee-friendly, do-it-yourself hive models, and simple, accessible management techniques.

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Building Community and Growing Food with the Next Generation

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Sola Gratia Farm is a community-based farm in Urbana, Illinois that is dedicated to producing locally grown, high-quality, natural produce. The community farm has been committed to helping those who lack access to fresh produce since 2012. With a CSA, a youth day camp, community workshops, and other activities, the farm promotes healthy lifestyles and community building.

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Cover Crop-based Reduced Tillage for Fall Production of Cabbage,Cauliflower and Broccoli Using a Roller-Crimper and No-Till Planting Aid

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Cover crops can reduce erosion, improve soil health, slow weeds, enhance nutrient and moisture availability, control pests, and offer other benefits to vegetable producers. After vegetable grower, Thomas Ruggieri, planted cover crops on his farm in rural Clay County, Missouri in 2004, he noticed dramatic improvement in soil fertility and plant health. They wondered if they could also use cover crops to minimize labor by reducing the need to hand-mulch crops, and received a $7,480 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to conduct a cover crop mulch experiment.

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Economics of Grazing and Haying Cover Crops in North Central Kansas

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Grown on an estimated 10 million acres across the country, cover crops are becoming an indispensable part of crop rotations. To maintain this momentum, the development of reliable information at the local level—how to craft a diversified rotation that pays—needs to keep pace with growth in farmers’ interest. That is what motivated Josh Roe to use a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to explore the economics of grazing and haying cover crops in a corn-soybean-wheat rotation on his family’s farm in North Central Kansas.  

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Developing a Method to Capture and Authenticate Single Varietal Honey on Diverse Landscapes

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Between April and May the apple orchards and fields at Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch in Champaign, Illinois boast plenty of blossoms for hungry pollinators. In 2015 they applied for and received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to examine pollination services in their orchards and fields. The Farmer Rancher grant will allow Curtis Orchard’s managing beekeeper, Rachel Coventry, and consulting beekeeper, Maggie Wachter, to investigate best practices for small-scale pollination on the farm.

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Evaluating the Roller-Crimper for Cover Crops in Corn and Soybean Terraced Ground

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Many farmers utilize a practice known as terracing to prevent erosion and surface runoff in their fields. Michael Willis, a farmer in northwest Missouri. Michael Willis, a farmer in northwest Missouri, says terraces have been important to preventing ditch formation on his farm during the transitional phase from traditional no-till to no-till with cover crops. In 2013, Willis applied for and received a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to evaluate the effectiveness of the Rodale roller-crimper on hilly, terraced, and irregularly shaped fields. 

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Feasibility, Planning, and Purchase of Mobile Processing Unit (MPU)

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Chris Sramek is a pasture poultry producer and a member of the High Plains Food Co-op (HPFC); in 2013, customer interest in their poultry was so high that the producer members were unable to keep up with the demand; Sramek says they were limited by processing barriers. To address these barriers, Sramek applied for and received a NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to plan and construct a Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) to expand processing potential. 

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Cultivating Partnerships: Building Farm-Research Networks for Improved Physical Weed Control

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Managing and controlling weeds can be a challenge and a frustration for farmers, no matter the farm size or crop. Associate professor of horticulture at Michigan State University, Daniel Brainard, knows that weed management represents a major barrier to sustainable production of both field and vegetable crops. In 2017, Brainard received a $25,595 NCR-SARE Partnership grant to bring together growers and researchers in the North Central region to improve understanding and adoption of these PWC tools.

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Optimal Flock Size for Pasture Raised Layers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Aaron Brower, along with his wife Mary, own and operate Bluestem Farm, a diversified, 4-season farm in Northern lower Michigan. They raise certified organic vegetables on 10 acres. In 2016, Brower received a $7,394 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to compare three pastured poultry flocks (100, 250, 450) in order to test what affect the size of the flock has on production and health. He wanted it to serve as an example to producers who are considering pasturing their layers and provide insights for safely raising productive laying hens.

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Investigation into a Year- Round Complimentary Broiler and Vegetable Farm Enterprise using Mobile High Tunnels

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

From improving soil health to diversifying income streams on the farm, vegetable growers have plenty of reasons for adding poultry to their farms. Amy Surburg of Berry Goods Farm in Morristown, Indiana, wanted to integrate poultry production with winter vegetable production, and she wanted to build a hybrid mobile coop/greenhouse that could be used for chickens and turkeys in the summer and for growing vegetables through the winter.

With a $7,467 Farmer Rancher grant from NCR-SARE, Surburg and her dad designed a mobile “coop house” that can be used for chickens in the spring/summer, turkeys in the summer/fall, and then washed and used to cover pre-planted fall greens.

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Green Tools: Improving Sustainability by Integrating New In-Row Cultivation Equipment and Competitive Cultivars

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Graduate student, Sam Hitchcock Tilton, says often the greatest expense in vegetable production is weed control, especially within the crop row. He says in-row tools can substantially reduce hand-weeding costs for vegetable growers, and he’s been learning about new tools with MSU associate professor Daniel Brainard. In 2016, Hitchcock Tilton received an $11,994 NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant to test a variety of in-row cultivation tools on eight cultivars of carrots.

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Development of a Cooperative Food Distribution Model for Small Farms

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Monica Bongue owns Muddy Fork Farm in Wooster Ohio, a certified organic farm for over 15 years, where she produces vegetables, chickens, ducks, sheep, and goats. She wanted to expand her marketing which consisted of direct sales through farmers’ markets and a small, on-farm CSA. Along with a number of other small, local producers, Bongue received a $22,500 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to develop a cooperative food distribution system to connect small growers in her rural area to consumers in nearby urban areas.

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Resources that Help Sustainable-Organic Vegetable Growers Select, Use, and Evaluate Microbecontaining Crop Stimulants (MCCSs) More Effectively

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

The decomposition of organic matter relies on bacteria and fungi that are commonly referred to as soil microbes. Matthew Kleinhenz, The Ohio State University professor and extension specialist, says many microbes are included as leading components of microbecontaining crop stimulants (MCCSs) advertised to enhance soil and crop health, accelerate soil nutrient cycling, and improve crop quality. In 2016, Kleinhez received a $198,842 NCRSARE Research and Education grant to identify and develop resources for selecting, using, and evaluating the benefits of MCCS to help SOFs and their advisors.

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Evaluating On-Farm Value-Added Production in Utilizing Unmarketable Produce to Reduce Waste While Helping Small Farms Engage in Agritourism and Bec...

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

On a three-acre urban farm in northeast Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lance Kraai is growing produce and jobs. In 2012, Kraai helped start New City Neighbors urban farm to expand the non-profit’s already successful youth employment work. In 2016, Kraai received a $7,379 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to demonstrate how on-site, value-added production could increase small farm financial viability.

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Maximizing Pollinator Protection and Natural Pest Suppression in Minnesota Fruit and Vegetable Crops

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Eric Middleton knows that beneficial insects can provide ecosystem services to agriculture, ranging from pollination to pest suppression. As a graduate student at the University of Minnesota, Middleton received a $12,000 NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant to compare how floral plantings in the margins of conventionally managed potato fields affect pollinator and predator abundance and richness, as well as biological control of Colorado potato beetle.

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Sustainable Pest Management Approaches for Raspberry Growers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Leach is working on an integrated pest management scheme for Spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) in raspberries in high tunnels, using specialty plastics and insect exclusion netting. In 2015, Leach received a $9,979 NCR-SARE Graduate Student grant to explore alternative controls for managing SWD, including ultraviolet-reducing plastics and exclusion netting. 

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The Fruit and Nut Compass: Developing a Tool and Guiding Principles for Diversified Farms

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

As interest in diversified perennial production grows, farmers across the region have been searching for sustainable ways to battle pests, tap into lucrative markets, and increase yields as they work to develop biodiverse agricultural ecosystems. Building on the concept of their Veggie Compass project, and the desire to develop whole farm profit management tools and workshops for perennial systems, in 2016, Michael Bell and Leah Potter-Weight with the University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) applied for and received a $199,246 NCR-SARE Research and Education grant to develop a similar tool called the Fruit and Nut Compass.

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Selecting a New Array of Crisp Apples for Increased Consumer Demand and Grower Profit

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Two apple producers, Steven and Connie Doud, own Doud Orchards in Denver, Indiana. Doud Orchards is the second oldest orchard in Indiana and currently produces, on sixty-seven acres, more than 100 varieties of tree-ripened apples. In 2015, Steven Doud received a $21,735 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to evaluate apple selections from the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) for field performance and consumer preference. 

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Apples for Artisanal Cider: Understanding the Characteristics of Single Varietals

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Two producers who have contributed to the growth of cider production, are Wisconsinites Marie and Matt Raboin, who made their first few gallons of cider in 2010. They planted their first trees in 2014, and now have more than 1,000 trees, but they reached a barrier in their cider production when they noticed the scarcity of information about specific cider apple qualities. In 2016, the Raboins received a $7,500 NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to determine which trees and apples would yield high-quality ciders.

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Comparing Apples to Apples: Participatory Research for Artisanal Cider Producers

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

Michelle Miller, the Associate Director of University of Wisconsin’s Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) has been using participatory research to better understand the growing hard cider industry. Miller received an $29,999 NCR-SARE Partnership Program grant in 2017 to work with experienced grower partners to identify 40 apple varieties with potential for sustainable cider production.

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North Coast Lamb Co-op: Using Carcass Scanning for Producer Production Criteria

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

DeYoung Minning says in Northeast Ohio, there is more demand for locally produced lamb than the average farm flock can supply. She says inconsistencies among flocks is a major barrier to the industry. With support from a $20,526 SARE grant, DeYoung Minning and two other Ohio sheep producers formed the Northeast Lamb Co-Op, a co-op of producers created to market together to local grocery stores and restaurants.

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Ohio Farmer Develops Mobile Hops Dryer

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With support from an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant, hops growers David and Nina Volkman developed a mobile hop dryer that can be shared among Ohio's hop growers.

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Building Resilience and Flexibility into Midwest Organic Potato Production

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

With SARE support, organic potato growers in the region learned about organic seed potato production and potato breeding. 

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Immigrant and Minority Farmers Inspire Soil Health Collaboration

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A team from Minnesota received SARE support to develop resources for educators, mentors, and community leaders working with immigrant and minority growers on issues around soil health.

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Traditional Fertilizer, Modern Applications for Iroquois White Corn

Type: North Central SARE From the Field Profile

A Oneida White Corn Growers Group in Wisconsin received SARE support to build their cultural knowledge about Iroquois White Corn, and to learned how to use fish emulsion to fertilize it.

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