From the Field Profiles

Showing 121-140 of 172 results

New Buckwheat Varieties for Greater Sustainability

Buckwheat is a speedy short-season cover crop. It establishes, blooms, and reaches maturity in just 70-90 days and its residue breaks down quickly. Buckwheat can suppress weeds and attract beneficial insects and pollinators with its abundant blossoms. It is easy to kill, and reportedly extracts soil phosphorus from soil better than most grain-type cover crops. […]

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

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.  Heimpel applied for an NCR-SARE Research  and Education […]

Adapting Cover Crops to Northern Climate Conventional Cropping Systems

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 […]

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

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.  Willis […]

Comparison of Annual Forages for Grazing Lambs on Previously Cropped Ground

Michael Seipel, his wife, and three children raise livestock on pasture in northeast Missouri. Michael also teaches agricultural business and sustainable agriculture courses at Truman State University. In 2013, Michael Seipel received an NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant to look at the economics of grazing lambs on spring, summer, and winter annual forage crops as compared […]

Developing Commercial Elderberry Production in Minnesota

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. Christopher Patton […]

Finishing Time and Weights of Grass-fed Beef Animals

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. Her interest in applying for an NCR-SARE […]

Management of the Spotted Wing Drosophila Using High Tunnels

Scenic Valley Farms is a family owned farm in Rosemount, Minnesota that uses 15 climate controlled high tunnels to produce organically certified tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, blackberries, strawberries, herbs, ginger, turmeric, and garlic. They also design and manage high tunnels, computerized climate control systems, and subterranean solar thermal heating systems. Erik Gundacker helps manage the high […]

Soil Scientist Makes Case for “Active C” Soil Test

It can be somewhat surprising to learn that the largest amount of carbon present on the land is not in the living plants, but in soil organic matter; the carbon stored in all the world’s soils is more than three times the amount in the atmosphere. Some farmers are adopting carbon-building management practices in order to reduce carbon loss from […]

Missouri Youth Gain Hands-On Experience in Sustainable Ag

NCR-SARE recognizes that youth programs are a way to introduce new and exciting farming and ranching options to youth, parents, and community members. The Lutie School District in Theodosia, Missouri shares this perspective, 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. In […]

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

Goat production is a growing enterprise for small and limited resource farmers. Goats can be adapted to different production systems and can be raised with relatively few inputs, but they can present production and marketing challenges. Susan and Tom Barnes live on 120 acres along Pleasant Valley southwest of Custer, South Dakota. Susan’s family homesteaded […]

Nonprofit Works to Protect Farms with Legal Education

When it comes to utilizing legal services, farmers lag behind the typical small business owner. 2010 research showed that just 16% of Illinois family farmers (with gross sales under $100,000) had ever met with an attorney even though 68% of that group felt they had needed the services of an attorney (Endres, 2010). Yet when it […]

Researchers Aim to Conserve Bees for Michigan Berry Growers

When developing risk management strategies, more and more farmers are concerned with native bee habitat preservation. We know that 70 percent of the world’s flowering plants, including more than two-thirds of the world’s crop species, rely on pollinators to reproduce. In a state that leads nationwide production of blueberries and tart cherries, researchers at the […]

Developing Hazelnut Germplasm for the Upper Midwest

Known for the flavor and aroma they lend to coffee, nut pastes, confections, and pastries, the hazelnut is an alternative crop that has garnered interest in the North Central region. Turkey currently produces 75% of the world’s hazelnuts, and Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces 3%. Growers and researchers are hopeful that hazelnuts can fill a niche in […]

Improving Pasture Quality with Cover Crops in North Dakota

Donnie and Trisha Feiring own and operate Feiring’s Cattle Company in Beach, North Dakota, a 120-head registered Black Angus cow calf operation. They also run 35 head of commercial yearling heifers. Without a lot of machinery on the ranch, the Feirings tend to think outside of the box when it comes to operational concerns. In […]

Illinois Students Show Garden PRIDE

At an Illinois high school where the team mascot is a pretzel, you might expect to find a bunch of good-natured Midwesterners. And while that may be true, the students, teachers, and volunteers at Freeport High School in Freeport, Illinois are anything but lighthearted when it comes to growing and selling food from their student-run […]

Managing Drought Risk On the Ranch

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. The National Drought Mitigation Center, (NDMC) based in Lincoln, NE, has a mission of “helping people and institutions develop and implement measures to reduce societal […]

Multi-Farm Cooperative Model

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. The multi-farm Farm Roots Connection Cooperative CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) […]

Bovine Mastitis Treatment

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 […]

On-Farm Soybean Trials

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 (, 2007). Michigan has significant organic food grade soybean production, but non-GMO soybean varieties are becoming less […]