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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ENGAGING FARMERS IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND EVALUATION OF CORN VARIETIES FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
2011 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
1)Coordinate collaboration between farmers, and USDA-ARS and Michael Fields Agricultural Institute researchers to research, select, produce and test improved corn varieties for sustainable agriculture; 2)Organize farmer-to-farmer networking and educational opportunities through on-farm research, field days and yearly meetings; and 3)Provide farmer cooperators a platform to increase awareness and interest about the use of and the need for these corn varieties.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
PFI will interact with a team including USDA-ARS, ISU scientists, and MFAI. PFI will identify farmer cooperators in coordination with MFAI, who will work with technicians and researchers to prepare field test sites and begin selecting corn varieties on-farm. Researchers will train farmer cooperators in on-farm selection techniques and requirements for test-site preparation. PFI will organize a winter meeting specifically focused to update stakeholders of the project on breeding accomplishments, variety improvements, and tasks for the following year. PFI will organize summer field days to demonstrate the different varieties and have farmers present field research findings about variety comparisons. PFI will facilitate on-farm research from design to implementation to analysis of results. Additionally, PFI will continue to coordinate seed increases and feeding trials. We will work closely with ISU Animal Science department and local feed mills to formulate and test new diets using these corn varieties. All data will be consolidated, interpreted, summarized and published in PFI publications, on the PFI website, and in the media. Finally, PFI will create partial budgets of the production of this maize and the potential for feeding it to poultry.


3.Progress Report

In FY2011, Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) arranged:.
1)Stakeholder Meetings in Chicago, IL 12/09/10; and in LaCrosse, WI 02/25/2011;.
2)Field Days at a farm 08/01/10 Mt. Vernon, IA; Brownseed Genetics 09/17/10 River Falls, WI; and a USDA-ARS site 09/23/10 in Ames, IA;.
3)Co-presented with the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute at the MOSES 2011 conference: “Breeding and Testing for Improved, Organic Corn Hybrids”. Accomplishments include: coordinated the harvest of yield trials from on-farm cooperators plots; coordinated five locations for yield trials, three locations for strip trials and one inbred increase on-farm; received data from the United States Testing Network (USTN) location managers; increased USTN locations to 32 Conventional and 15 Organic across 14 states in the US; continued USTN organizational development; created a final summary of USTN results provided to stakeholders; began coordinating activities of current partners funded through this project plus worked closely with other organic corn breeders as part of a grant received to bolster public corn breeding programs and improve the pipeline of improved organic hybrids for market. Joined organic plant breeding working group coordinated by the Organic Seed Alliance. We will continue coordinating between USDA-ARS and PFI farmers to conduct our in-state yield and strip trials. We will also continue building the USTN locations across the US. Finally, we will coordinate the activities of the expanded public breeder group to bolster their breeding programs; increase testing and breeding on organic and low-input systems and work closely with the USTN members to bring these hybrids to market. The Authorized Departmental Officer's Designated Representative (ADODR) monitors activities for the project by frequent mutual visits, phone calls, and emails for joint planning, sharing results, and reporting results. The ADODR and collaborator speak on the phone at minimum once every two weeks, email at least every week, and visit each other’s facilities frequently which are close by. Joint presentations are made at field days and farmer meetings.


Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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