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NDSU researchers receive sustainable agriculture grants

Several NDSU researchers recently received grants from the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program. They include Burton Johnson, professor of sunflower, minor and new crop production; Benjamin Geaumont, wildlife and range research assistant professor at the NDSU Hettinger Research Extension Center; Miranda Meehan, Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist; and doctoral student Andrej Svyantek and Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, assistant department head and professor of high value crop production.

Johnson received a $199,998 grant for a project titled "Perennial Flax: A New Crop for Sustainable Agriculture in the Northern Plains."

"Perennial flax is a potential high value oilseed crop for sustainable agriculture," Johnson said. “Our work will develop agronomy recommendations and plant variety resources.”

Geaumont’s project, "Examining the Role of Shelterbelts (Tree Plantings) on Early-Season Honey Production and Hive Growth of Honeybees in the North Central Region," received a $199,922 grant.

"This will be an investigation of shelterbelt plantings effects on honey bee hive growth and honey production during early summer when foraging resources from perennial grasslands are limited," said Geaumont.

Meehan was selected for a $198,168 grant for her project, "Grazing Management Practices to Enhance Soil Health in the Northern Great Plains."

"This project will assess the environmental and economic sustainability of producer-led grazing management strategies on annual cover crops within an integrated crop livestock system," said Meehan.

Svyantek and Hatterman-Valenti received a $14,951 grant for "Development of Breeding Lines and Molecular Tools for Selection of Grapevines with Altered Canopy Dynamics via Dissected Foliar Morphology."

"Identifying inheritance of dissected leaves will enable selection for open canopies towards the goal of increased fruit quality and reduced disease pressure," said Svyantek.

The grants were awarded as part of a competitive grant program for researchers and educators involved in projects that explore and promote environmentally sound, profitable and socially responsible food or fiber systems.

NCR-SARE projects include a strong outreach component and significant farmer and rancher involvement in the project. Funding considerations are made based on how well the applicant articulates the nature of the research and education components of their sustainable agriculture grant proposals.

NCR-SARE administrative council members decide which projects receive SARE funds. The council includes members from regional farms and ranches, the Cooperative Extension Service, universities, federal agencies and nonprofit organizations.

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