News release: Agroforestry: Where do we go from here?

Tim Baker, MU Extension Horticulture Specialist
102 N. Main, Suite 1, Gallatin, MO 64640
660-663-3232, bakert@missouri.edu

Release Date: Nov. 14, 2013

Title: Agroforestry: Where do we go from here?

For my past several columns, I have described the five practices of agroforestry. Some people may be interested in pursuing some of these practices on their land. You may be a livestock producer, wanting to try silvopasture or add a windbreak for winter protection of your cattle. Or perhaps you are a row crop farmer, who sees a developing problem along a riparian corridor. A narrow mixed planting of trees, shrubs and native grasses might be just what you need. Maybe a windbreak is in your future for crop protection or other uses. And some folks, no doubt, are thinking of some forest farming products so they can put that woods on their back forty to good use, further diversifying their income.

The web offers some great information, if you choose a reliable source. To help you with that, check out my web page that provides links to various agroforestry centers around the country.  You can find this page at: http://extension.missouri.edu/nwhort/links.aspx

Often, I am asked if there is any type of financial assistance in developing agroforestry practices on your land. Yes, there is. Many government agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Service offer cost-share assistance to help you implement these practices. They can usually help you with the design as well.

Many Extension Specialists also have an interest in various agroforestry topics and are willing to help. We are in the process of developing some meetings on agroforestry. The first opportunity will be on the Saturday of the Great Plains Growers Conference, which will be Jan. 11, 2014.

Further Extension meetings are still in the planning stage. If you are interested, please give me a call and I’ll add you to our mailing list.

If you want to see agroforestry practices first hand, field days are conducted annually at our MU Agricultural Experiment Stations. The premier stop for agroforestry would be our Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center, located at New Franklin, MO.

Their web site describes it best: “This 665 acre farm includes several experimental fruit and nut orchards; forest farming, riparian buffer, silvopasture, alley cropping, and windbreak demonstrations as well as forage shade trials; flood tolerance trials; biofuel trials; pine straw production trials; greenhouses; five lakes and ponds and one of Missouri's oldest brick homes, the Thomas Hickman House. The farm, set in the beautiful, rolling Missouri River hills, is also the U.S. National Arboretum Midwest Plant Research and Education Site.”  Field days are usually held in October.

If you have missed my earlier columns on agroforestry, they may be found on my web site at: http://extension.missouri.edu/nwhort/

Finally, let me state that I’m here to discuss your situation and desires.  We have literature on the various agroforestry practices that I can give to you for further reading.  I’d be happy to visit with you at any time.  You can reach me at 660-663-3232.