McNay Research and Demonstration Farm

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Organic farming has increased to an $8 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 150,000 acres in 2000. Across the North Central region, 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 educational 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) promulgate technology transfer through demonstrations/field days and publications for area farmers and agricultural professionals.

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Iowa State University



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