- Agronomic: buckwheat, oats, peas (field, cowpeas), rye, wheat
- Crop Production: cover crops, other, seed saving
- Farm Business Management: feasibility study
- Natural Resources/Environment: other, soil stabilization
- Soil Management: soil quality/health
- Sustainable Communities: infrastructure analysis, other, partnerships
Though many farmers utilize the practice of cover cropping for soil fertility, there is no producer of cover crop seeds in New Hampshire. Having to ship in cover crop seeds is not only expensive, but it is sometimes unreliable and comes with its own environmental impacts. Merrimack County has the opportunity to bring municipal and private lands into agricultural production to address the needs of local farmers. This project aims to conduct a feasibility assessment to determine the viability of such an endeavor and to create a plan for implementation should it be feasible. A team of staff from the Merrimack County Conservation District (MCCD), local farmers, community partners, and Extension specialists will hold monthly meetings to discuss logistics, costs, multifunctionality of facilities, and projected income in order to keep the operation running. The team will conduct a market survey to determine the interest in purchasing local cover crop seeds as well as the utilization of processing facilities. Once all data has been collected and reviewed, the team will make the decision as to whether the endeavor is feasible or not. The final part of the project will be to determine next steps and gather resources for pursuing them. Throughout the project MCCD staff will conduct outreach to farmers and the community through newsletters in order to invite farmers to participate in proceedings, distribute the market survey, release the results of the feasibility assessment, and make a final report on next steps in the project.
Project objectives from proposal:
- This project seeks to assess the feasibility of growing cover crop seeds on municipal lands and establishing infrastructure to process, store, and distribute the seeds to local farmers. The assessment will uncover the potential success of the endeavor by looking at the costs, the capacity of the land, and the resources that would be necessary to continue the project.
- This project seeks to create a plan of action to proceed with the endeavor based on the findings of the feasibility assessment. The benefits associated with this plan are anticipated to be reduced costs to farmers utilizing the practice of cover cropping, improved access to cover crop seeds, and new market opportunities with the establishment of processing facilities.