Nine researchers were the beneficiaries of the first-ever U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative (USAFRI), a farmer-funded investment in alfalfa-related research.
“We are extremely pleased with the response to our inaugural request for proposals and the results of our first round of checkoff funding,” said Beth Nelson, NAFA President. “We concentrated funding on projects we believe will have a beneficial economic impact on alfalfa farmers across the country.”
Better known as the Alfalfa Checkoff, NAFA’s USAFRI initial request for proposals garnered an impressive response, generating a whopping 34 research proposals requesting more than $1.4 million, demonstrating the high demand among researchers for alfalfa-related research funding. Proposals covered a wide range of topics intended to drive innovation and profitability in the alfalfa industry, as well as a broad geographic area. Research projects in California, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Washington, and Wisconsin are being funded. Project objectives can be viewed on the NAFA website (alfalfa.org):
- Maximizing Alfalfa’s Yield Potential - Charles Brummer, University of California-Davis
- Developing High Yielding and High Quality Varieties and Cropping Systems for High Salinity Conditions - Dan Putnam, University of California-Davis
- Enhancing Alfalfa Yields and Stand Life by Improving Management of Seed Rot and Seedling Damping Off - Deborah Samac, USDA Agricultural Research Service
- Evaluating Progress in Alfalfa Forage Quality Improvement - Craig Sheaffer, University of Minnesota
- Impact of Poultry Litter Application on Yield and Quality of Alfalfa Grown in Mississippi - Brett Rushing, Mississippi State University
- Evaluation of the Efficacy of Various Herbicides for Control of Broadleaf and Buckhorn Plantain in Alfalfa - Leslie Beck, New Mexico State University
- Developing Practical Phosphorus and Potassium Tissue Test Recommendations and Utilizing Struvite in Modern Alfalfa Systems - Steve Norberg, Washington State University
- Integrated Pest Management and Pollinator Protection on Alfalfa Produced for Seed - Doug Walsh, Washington State University
- The Impact of Tedding on the Economic Production of Alfalfa Silage - Matt Digman, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Project funding was determined by a NAFA board-appointed panel which reviewed, scored, and discussed proposals to determine which projects best met NAFA’s established research priorities, including: Yield Improvement; Cutting Management Strategies; Fertility, Soil Management, Soil Health, Macro/Micro Nutrients; Forage Quality Improvements; Weed Management Strategies; and Insect Management Strategies. Additionally, proposals were scored on methodology and analytical approaches; industry need; cost effectiveness/budget/matching funds; partnerships; and outreach.
NAFA strongly encourages alfalfa farmers to patronize checkoff-participating alfalfa seed brands to support the U.S. Alfalfa Farmer Research Initiative. A current list of checkoff participating marketers can be found at alfalfa.org. (If your favorite alfalfa brand is not on the list, contact NAFA at 651.484.3888 for information on how a seed marketer can become a participating brand.)