Since 2003, the University of Vermont Extension
Northwest Crops and Soils program (NWCS) has been conducting on-farm
research on a wide range of crops—from cereal grains and livestock
forages to hops, hemp, and oilseeds—all to provide farmers and end-users
with agronomic information that supports human food and beverage
markets, as well as local livestock feed, fiber and biofuel production.
Dr. Heather Darby, Extension Agronomist, leads the
program. As a farmer herself, she understands the importance of
conducting research locally. She said, “One of the most important
reasons for conducting research at a land grant university is to answer
the questions that are coming from the community around you.”
NWCS conducts variety trials of wheat, barley, dried beans, hemp, and hops. It also maintains a campus-based grains and hops testing laboratory to ensure high quality, safe local products. Several bakeries are now using Vermont-grown wheat and 9 Vermont breweries are using locally grown hops.
Research on cover crops and home-grown livestock forages as well as nutrient management planning education have helped livestock farmers reduce off-farm fertilizer and livestock feed purchases, decreasing adverse environmental impacts from agriculture while increasing farm viability.
Research and outreach projects on sunflower, soybean and canola crops have sought to build on-farm energy independence; more than 24 farms are now growing their own oilseed crops for fuel, feed, and fertilizers.
Please consider supporting the UVM Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program with your donation – together we’ll help support our food system crop by crop!
To learn more about NWCS and its research to date, visit www.uvm.edu/extension/cropsoil.
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