Winter-hardy perennial crops, under development through the University of Minnesota Forever Green Initiative, are green and growing even when other farm fields are barren.
We know that getting to clean water in Minnesota means switching about a third of our high-intensity annual cropping systems like corn and soybeans to landscapes with continuous living cover. We also know that farm operations won't make that switch unless there is a profitable alternative.
That's where The University of Minnesota's Forever Green initiative comes in.
Forever Green aims to accelerate development of economically viable winter annual and perennial crop options for Minnesota farm operations to reduce nonpoint pollution and habitat loss currently associated with annual cropping systems.
While FMR and our allies have successfully secured Forever Green funding from the legislature in 2014, 2015 and 2016, these were one-time investments insufficient to fully achieve program goals over time.
Providing additional, stable Forever Green funding is necessary to jump-start the use of perennial crops to restore water quality, while also enhancing farm profits and addressing a variety of soil health, habitat and climate change challenges facing our state.