August 7, 2018 – In 2017, OFRF awarded a grant to researchers at Michigan State University to examine organic grain productivity in support of the organic livestock industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Organic grain production is virtually non-existent in the area and sourcing outside of the region is quite costly. The goal of this project is to increase knowledge of grain performance in an organic system, leading to the expansion of certified organic grain production and entry into the growing market for natural or organically produced meat.

Results will inform organic farmers of the opportunities and challenges within grain production and identify optimum crops, varieties, and management strategies to improve successful cultivation. The team believes they will see an increase in farmers experimenting with organic grain and that continued research will support these efforts. Ultimately, they hope the project will spur additional acreage of organic small grain in the U.P. to fill the need.

The researchers have developed a framework of research and knowledge of organic grain systems  through variety and crop management research, identification of need and marketing opportunities, and dissemination of findings through field days and outreach materials.

Although they were able to determine which varieties did not perform well, further investigation is needed with additional varieties. The framework they were able to develop as a result of OFRF’s seed grant will be leveraged to obtain additional funding to continue this important research.