From the Field Profiles

Showing 41-60 of 156 results

Developing a Woman and Farmer-Led Meat Processing Cooperative

Wisconsin needs more butchers. That’s what April Prusia, Betty Anderson, and Bethany Emond Storms determined during their farmer-led research project in 2017. The three livestock producers raise beef, pork, poultry, and goats in south central Wisconsin. While they all have big dreams of charcuterie plates made with their meat, they lack processing options in the […]

Paving the Way for Shared-Use Kitchens

New cottage food laws are making it easier for producers to can, freeze, bake, and pickle their raw agricultural products at home and sell them directly to their customers. While they might fit under regulations, home kitchens might not be a good fit for everyone, and some producers want to expand without investing in their […]

Illinois Farmer Builds Precision Seeder to Maximize Cover Crop Advantage

Ralph “Junior” Upton is no novice when it comes to no-till and cover crops. His grain farm in the northeast corner of Hamilton county Illinois is 100% no-till with 1,800 acres of corn, beans, and wheat, and approximately 1,200 acres in cover crops. Upton has been farming more than 50 years, and the farm has […]

Traditional Fertilizer, Modern Applications for Iroquois White Corn

Farmers have long relied on liquid fish fertilizers because they are a source burn-free nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Traditional Native American growers were well aware of the benefits that decaying fish could bring to their soil; they buried fish under mounded soil and planted the 3 Sisters (corn, beans, and squash) directly on top of […]

Immigrant and Minority Farmers Inspire Soil Health Collaboration

When Julie Grossman was an undergraduate, she had no idea that a single economic development course was going to change the trajectory of her life’s work. In that course, and during her international PhD research in Latin America, she learned how biology, and specifically agroecology, could be used to help grow food in regions of […]

Building Resilience and Flexibility into Midwest Organic Potato Production

When Maria Carter’s parents emigrated to America from the Netherlands in 1956, they brought along a knowledge of growing seed potatoes. Shortly after they put down roots in North Dakota, they put down tubers to start their new seed potato farm. They knew potato growers needed healthy seed potatoes, and they knew how to grow […]

Ohio Farmer Develops Mobile Hops Dryer

In a state that boasts 300 craft breweries, David Volkman is one of many craft beer enthusiasts in Ohio. But Volkman, with 12 acres of land in Warren County, is not only supporting Ohio’s craft brewing industry through consumption; he’s also contributing to its production. In 2012, he and his wife, Nina, started transitioning some […]

The American Kestrel: an IPM Friend for Michigan’s Fruit Growers

Cherry producers across the region are all too familiar with starlings, finches, voles, pocket gophers, and other animals that can wreak havoc on a cherry orchard by feeding on ripening fruit and developing roots or shoots. These little pests can be a big problem for Michigan’s cherry growers, who grow 75 percent of all tart cherries and 20 percent of sweet cherries in […]

Youth Hit the Road to Learn about Sustainable Livestock Production in Wisconsin

Jessie Oberlin is no stranger to the 4-H’ers in Jackson County, Wisconsin. Whether she’s providing coaching for the 4-H Livestock Judging Contest, setting up livestock production tours, or prepping youth for the 4-H Quiz Bowl, Oberlin has spent most of her adult life introducing rural young people to new livestock opportunities in a county known for cranberry and strawberry production. Oberlin grew up showing […]

Latino Producers Explore Sustainable Practices in Missouri

When Eleazar Gonzalez was a child, raising crops and making cheese on his family’s small farm in Mexico, he often pondered the career he would pursue. At the age of fifteen, he received a scholarship that allowed him to study high school agriculture and eventually pursue a bachelor’s degree in agronomy. This pivotal time allowed Gonzalez to start working with programs that […]

Does Open-Pollinated Corn Have a Place on Today’s Organic Farm?

On 205 acres near the picturesque bluffs of the On 205 acres near the picturesque bluffs of the Mississippi River, Stanley Smith raises beef cows and grows organic corn in southeastern Minnesota. He grew up on this small farm in the rolling hills of Winona County, and worked in partnership with his dad until his dad retired. Smith and his wife, Vickie, […]

Iowa Farmers Seek Sustainability with Cover Crops and No-Till

In 2002, a $6,500 SARE grant funded an idea for a new tool at the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. The tool was a roller-crimper, a steel drum with blades that was mounted to a tractor and used to roll down cover crops. The idea was that the mat of dead cover crops would act as mulch, which researchers hoped no-till farmers […]

New Research Tackles Concerns About Grazing Corn Residue

Since the 1850’s, several states in the North Central region have dominated corn production nationally, earning the nickname “The Corn Belt.” It should come as no surprise, then, that corn residue is abundant in the region. Rick Rasby, Associate Dean of Extension, professor, and Beef Specialist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) says corn residue can […]

Overwintering Bees for Increased Apiary Sustainability

Our $20-billion-a-year crop industry relies on insect pollination, but diseases, pests, and colony collapse disorder are knocking out 30 percent of beekeepers’ colonies every growing season. There are as many as 125,000 beekeepers in the country. And while 2.77 million honey-producing colonies generated 161.8 million pounds of raw honey in 2016, the annual value of […]

Peer-to-Peer Food Safety Education Fruitful for Hmong-American Farmers in Minnesota

When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2015, it included new provisions that regulate food safety requirements for some fruit and vegetable farms. This new federal food safety legislation, along with market-based audit programs like Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), can seem daunting to small-scale or diversified farmers. As a statewide Extension Educator for farm food safety at the University of […]

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

In 1865, the National Wool Growers Association was formed. This first-ever national livestock association in the U.S. laid the groundwork for the organization we know today as the American Sheep Industry Association (American Sheep Industry Association, 2018). “The American Sheep Industry may be the oldest livestock organization in the county, however, American lamb consumption and […]

Apples for Artisanal Cider: Understanding the Characteristics of Single Varietals

Hard cider is a beverage that is rooted in history, dating back to 55 BC when the Romans discovered it in England. Today, it is emerging as a potentially fruitful business opportunity for modern and future producers. Two of the producers who have contributed to that growth are Wisconsinites Marie and Matt Raboin, who made their […]

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

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 […]

Sustainable Pest Management Approaches for Raspberry Growers

Spotted wing Drosophila (SWD) (Drosophila suzukii) is a gnat-sized fly that will damage ripe or ripening fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries. Heather Leach, a Michigan State University graduate student in Rufus Isaacs’ Berry Crops Entomology lab says that in 2014, SWD caused estimated economic losses of $159 million in U.S. raspberry production (Burrack […]