- Additional Plants: ornamentals
- Production Systems: general crop production
A ground-breaking (or, rather, ground-preserving) new conservation practice is being tested by Michele Skogrand of Montevideo, Minnesota, Skogrand was awarded the grant for a group project that will research the use of woody floral plants as an income-generating conservation method for farmers in the Minnesota River Basin. In conventional agriculture, Skogrand says, “the lack of perennial crops protecting riparian areas results in increased erosion and lower water quality.” While some farmers have adopted conservation practices, many techniques do not provide income or benefit to farmers, which makes them difficult to adopt. Skogrand learned of a program in Nebraska where decorative woody florals provided protection and generated income for farm families through the sale of finished arrangements. Under the SARE grant, she will travel to Nebraska to learn from their success, then will plant test species on five different farms in Minnesota and South Dakota. These farms are located in the Minnesota River and Mississippi River watersheds, where sediment and nutrients have caused problems. She hopes this project will allow farmers to be “better stewards of the land.” She will receive assistance from Dean Current, University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources; Sue White, University of Minnesota Dept of Agronomy and Plant Genetics; and Michael Demchik, Regional Extension Educator. Information on the project will be shared in the newsletters of the Land Stewardship Project, Clean Up Our River Environmenment (CURE) and Chippewa River Watershed Project (CRWP).
Project objectives from proposal:
To identify decorative woody floral species, as alternative perennial crops, which would provide riparian area protection and generate income for farmers.