Progress report for FNC21-1274
Our farm is part of a community controlled land on the Menominee Indian Reservation. We have three (3) acres we care for on this land and grow industrial hemp for fiber and grain purposes. Prior to receiving this grant, we worked on building up the organic matter in the soil as majority of the land we work on is sand. We brought in compost soil to provide a layer of organic matter to a portion of our field for the past two growing seasons. This past year, we worked in collaboration with the Menominee Tribal Department of Community Development to help us conduct control burns on our three acres. Our hope was to increase the organic matter in our field, but the results provided only minimal organic matter. Menominee people have utilized controlled burns on land for centuries and is used in our forest to boost soil fertility. While the control burn did not produce the results we intended, we hope to learn from the lesson in 2021 and prepare for future controlled burns to increase organic matter in our soil.
Pests and diseases affect our agricultural practices every growing season. The core research of this grant proposal will revolve around our observational research on the hemp grain variety, X59. During the 2020 growing season, our observational research found a large amount of Japanese Beetles clustered around the hemp grain variety, X59, as it grew throughout the season. What was interesting is the Japanese Beetles flocked to the X59 more so than our other varieties. With hemp being a new crop available to farmers in our area, the normal routine to get rid of pests is through the utilization of pesticides. The Integrated Pest Management (IPM) research that will be done through this grant will utilize sustainable practices to observe what, if any, change occurs to the Japanese Beetle infestations on X59 when we apply different non-chemical solutions. This research, if proven effective, will educate future hemp grain farmers on what to do if Japanese Beetles infest your crop and provide a environmentally friendly IPM system to deal with this revitalized agricultural industry in the United States.
- Plant a large research plot of Hemp varietal, X59 to study the negative effects of a Japanese Beetle infestation.
- Identify which sustainable IPM method works best to mitigate Japanese Beetle or other pest infestation.
- Teach observational research to another beginning farmer.
- Share findings through field days, feasibility study, and conference presentation.
The research project will involve a 1 acre plot to conduct observational research and carry out our sustainable IPM methods. We plan to plant the hemp grain variety, X59, due to our observational analysis during the 2020 growing season of a Japanese Beetle infestation. We want to plant 1 acre of X59 to understand a Japanese Beetle infestation on a large tract of land compared to a small research plot. This will help quantify the data and hopefully develop a formula for farmers who want to understand the time it takes to deal with a Japanese Beetle using a sustainable IPM method instead of pesticides. The data gathered from this plot will be analyzed to understand the effects of sustainable IPM methods and their effectiveness in the field.
During the 2021 growing season, we moved our X-59 hemp grain variety to a different location from the 2020 growing season for two reasons: 1) the one acre we planned to plant could not fit in the area we had originally grown in. We moved the planned one acre site to a larger location; 2) we wanted to observe whether the Japanese beetle was particularly attracted to the X-59 hemp grain variety or just goes after any type of hemp variety. We worked with the Menominee Tribal Department of Community Development to conduct a control burn on the planned one acre site in the spring of 2021. We were successful in burning the control area without issue, but did not produce the amount of organic matter we needed to plant.
At the beginning of June, we originally intended to plant our one acre of X-59, but had to hold off on planting due to a death in the family. Per Menominee traditional customs, we had to delay our planting and handle the funeral/grief process. We missed our intended planting date for the X-59 due to this situation. As X-59 performs the best planted a couple of weeks before the summer solstice, we missed our target date for planting. We planted a smaller plot (20ft x 20ft) with the compost soil we trucked in. We observed the plants to see if any Japanese beetles arrived. We plan to grow our intended one acre plot of X-59 for the 2022 growing season.
The original site where we grew X-59 during the 2020 growing season we planted our seed breeding variety we've been working on to observe during the growing season. We noticed Japanese beetles flocked to this other hemp variety and at the same amount or less as it did when we planted X-59 in 2020. We plan to continue our observational research during the 2022 growing season. We also noticed during the 2021 growing season, the Japanese beetle flocks to other plants. Sunflowers and other plants that grow naturally around our hemp crops. Originally we wanted to plant an acre of hemp and have an organic solution to mix into the soil. This organic mix would stop the Japanese beetle larva from hatching. With the delays we had during the 2021 growing season, our plan is to carry out this objective to our research in 2022 growing season. We hope to observe what effects this might have on the Japanese beetle both at the 2020 and 2021 growing locations. Below are images of Japanese Beetles observed.
Educational & Outreach Activities
Due to the COVID-19 Executive Orders passed by the Menominee Tribe, we could not organize a field day. We did have one-on-one conversations with beginning farmers interested in producing hemp in Northeast Wisconsin and wanted to learn more about our farming practices. Our plan for the 2022 growing season is to hold a field day and do online videos of our process. We want to organize a co-event with the College of Menominee Nation's Department of Continuing Education and Sustainable Development Institute to promote the Hemp Supply Chain grant work the college has undertaken this past year. We hope the 1 acre of X59 we grow organically will be used to feed the trout in the aquaculture project tied to the grant.