McNay Research and Demonstration Farm

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Organic farming has increased to a $13 billion industry in the U.S. and continues to expand approximately 20% annually. In Iowa alone, organic acreage has increased from 13,000 acres in 1995 to 120,000 acres in 2001. Across the upper Midwest, there has been a great interest in planting organic soybeans on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land, where up to a 300% premium can be obtained compared with conventionally raised soybeans. Regulation of soil organic matter through additions of plant residues and proper crop rotations will determine the long-term sustainability of the system. The objectives of this research and education program included the following: (1) establish plots dedicated to organic farming research on CRP land; (2) implement production and management regimes for opening CRP land and for weed control in organic systems on CRP land; (3) evaluate the biological and economic outcomes of the different systems; and (4) inform through demonstrations, field days, and publications for area farmers and agricultural professionals.

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Iowa State University



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