Farm Progress

$1 per bag of seed would be used to support public alfalfa and alfalfa forage research

May 8, 2016

2 Min Read

The National Alfalfa & Forage Alliance announced the creation of the first-ever U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative, a farmer-funded investment in alfalfa-related research to help drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry.

“Until now, alfalfa was the only major crop without a farmer-funded checkoff program,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA president, based in St. Paul. “That needed to change in order for alfalfa to remain competitive with other cropping choices.”

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The NAFA board of directors voted unanimously to begin a national checkoff program to facilitate a farmer-funded research program to advance industry research. The U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative, implemented voluntarily by seed brand, will be assessed at the rate of $1/bag of alfalfa seed. One hundred percent of the checkoff funds will be used to support public research into alfalfa and alfalfa forage systems.

According to NAFA:

-The Alfalfa Checkoff Program will be assessed at a rate of $1/bag, implemented voluntarily by seed brand.

-The Alfalfa Checkoff Program has broad grassroots support from state and regional hay associations and farmer members.

-Unlike other commodities, alfalfa does not have a common “first purchaser.” Seed marketers are the common industry partner helping to facilitate the checkoff program.

-Farmers and industry members will assist in developing research priorities. A request for proposals will be circulated to all known public U.S. alfalfa researchers.

-NAFA will not assess any administrative costs, investing 100% of the checkoff funds in alfalfa research.

While NAFA has been successful in securing federal research funding for the Alfalfa & Forage Research Program and the Alfalfa Pollinator Research Initiative, USDA’s public research portfolio needs to be better balanced to provide needed research to the nation’s 3rd  most valuable field crop, Nelson said.

“We’ve been making the case to lawmakers of the need for parity among the major crops in public research funding,” Nelson added. “This checkoff clearly demonstrates how serious alfalfa farmers are about their commitment to fund alfalfa research. It is imperative we come to the table with our own funding.”

The checkoff will support research into the improvement of yields, water conservation, development of new storage and harvest systems, creation of new uses, and other research areas holding the potential to advance the alfalfa industry.

Seed marketers who have committed to facilitating the checkoff, helping farmers invest in the future of the alfalfa industry include Alforex Seeds, America's Alfalfa, Browning Seed, Channel, CROPLAN, DEKALB, Dyna-Gro, Fontanelle Hybrids, Forage First, Gold Country Seed, Hubner Seed, Jung Seed Genetics, Kruger Seeds, Latham Hi-Tech Seeds, Legacy Seeds, Lewis Hybrids, NEXGROW, Prairie Creek Seed, Rea Hybrids, S&W Seed Company, Simplot Grower Solutions, Specialty, Stewart, Stone Seed and W-L Research.

Alfalfa growers are encouraged to contact their seed marketers and/or NAFA if they are not yet on the list. Contact NAFA at 651-484-3888. Or visit NAFA’s website at https://www.alfalfa.org/

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