- Agronomic: oats, peas (field, cowpeas)
- Animals: swine
- Animal Production: animal protection and health, feed/forage, feed rations, winter forage
- Crop Production: cover crops
- Education and Training: demonstration, on-farm/ranch research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, new enterprise development
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
- Pest Management: cultivation
- Production Systems: agroecosystems, integrated crop and livestock systems, organic agriculture
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, sustainability measures, values-based supply chains
Consumer demand for safe, high-quality organic pork products continues to grow significantly while farmers are reluctant to supply this demand primarily because of the high cost of traditional organic grains for feed. Moreover, keeping hogs healthy in an organic swine system is imperative, and implementing a cereal grain cover crop is a vital agronomic practice. This project aims to resolve these particular barriers through research, education, and demonstration of the utilization of highly digestible cover crop ensilage by breeding and finishing swine in an integrated organic farming system. A cooperative network of community-based, sustainable pig farmers, with an emphasis on young farmers, will perform the tasks of the project.
- Research reduction in feed expense of organic swine operations by using homegrown cover crop ensilage.
- Maintain records of health, mortality, and number of qualifying hogs while providing silage year-round.
- Research and demonstrate an economical and practical incorporation of highly digestible sustainably harvested cover crops in an integrated swine operation.
- Eliminate economic barriers for entry of young farmers into organic agriculture by reducing organic feed costs.
- Research and demonstrate adaptation of advancements in sustainable agriculture techniques pioneered in Europe including a feeding system that is adaptable to diverse needs.