by Matt Leavitt, agronomist and organic team lead; and Mac Ehrhardt, president and co-owner

Albert Lea Seed is proud to support two crucial research programs at the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences: Dr. Jochum Wiersma’s Winter Rye research program, and Dr. Kevin Smith’s Winter Barley breeding program.

Why do we support this research?

We know these programs directly impact the success of our farm customers, and we are committed to regenerative agriculture. We strongly believe that in addition to feeding us all, agriculture plays an essential role in keeping our surface and groundwater clean, protecting our natural flora and fauna, and reducing the impact of climate change. One of the simplest and most efficient ways for agriculture to have a positive impact on all these ecosystem services is by diversifying crop rotations and especially by keeping roots in the ground year-round. Winter cereals, such as rye, wheat, and barley offer farmers rotational crops that help achieve these objectives.

Winter Rye Research Program

Our $65,000 pledge to the Winter Rye research program will help continue the work of characterizing cereal rye varieties in field testing so that farmers will be able to choose the right variety to meet their needs. For example, Hybrid Rye has proven to consistently provide the highest yields for farmers supplying the milling & distilling industries, while farmers who use cereal rye as a cover crop in roller-crimper no-till soybean systems need early-heading, high-biomass varieties.

Winter Barley Breeding Program

Our $60,000 pledge to the Winter Barley breeding program will help complete the evaluation and launch of some 6-row winter barley varieties that Dr. Smith has been breeding for a decade. These varieties hold great promise for animal feed and forage across the upper Midwest.

We would like to thank our customers for supporting our business so that we can support this vital research!