Are you interested in growing trees as a revenue stream but don't want to wait 75 years for a return on investment? Does Woody Agriculture have a place in traditional farming systems? An upcoming conference titled "Opportunities in Agroforestry" will introduce landowners to various agroforestry practices that can be profitably integrated into mainstream agriculture. Agroforestry is defined as intensive land-use management that optimizes the benefits created when trees and shrubs are deliberately combined with crops and/or livestock. Agroforestry technologies offer a suite of practices that can readily be integrated into many farm operations. These practices can provide for product diversification and increased income, while simultaneously enhancing natural resources.
This conference will introduce participants to a wide variety of agroforestry practices. Some of the agroforestry topics highlighted at the conference include: Hazelnut as a Cash Crop, Christmas Tree Production, The Science of Agroforestry, Perennial polycultures, Silvopasture, Biomass Energy Production, Whole Farm Agroforestry Planning and Woodlot Alternatives. In addition, participants will learn about carbon credits as an emerging revenue stream.
Hybrid hazelnut is one type of woody agriculture that has great potential to become a new cash crop in the Midwest. The United States currently imports 98% of its hazelnut consumption. Mark Shepard will provide information on the "how to" of hazelnut production. Mr. Shepard has been transitioning his 120 acre farm in Viola, WI from a traditional row cropping farm to a woody agriculture farm since 1992. Mark has established more than 25 acres of hybrid hazelnuts on his farm and will cover hazelnut production from planting to sale.
Gregg Johnson, an Associate Professor from the University of Minnesota, will share his work to enhance the value of rural landscapes through site-specific integration of alternative crops to meet specific economic and environmental goals. His presentation will focus on production strategies for willow and poplar in agricultural fields.
Bob and Johnny Micheel own and operate High Ridge Tree Farm in Winona County Minnesota. These veteran Christmas tree growers will discuss how they run a successful operation on a fairly small scale. Their lessons learned will be applicable to operations of any size.
Carbon credits, Cap and Trade and greenhouse gasses seem to be the buzz, but what does this mean for income on my farm? Chad Martin of Agra Gate Climate Credit Corporation will discuss how landowners can receive payments for sequestering carbon from practices such as planting trees, prairies and biomass crops.
The "Opportunities in Agroforestry" conference will be held in LaCrosse at the Best Western Midway Hotel on March 28, 2009. For more information contact the Southwest Badger RC&D office at 608-723-6377 x 136 or go to www.swbadger.com and look under events. The cost of the conference is $25 per person, which includes lunch. Pre-registration is required by March 26, 2009.