Big Plans for Indiana Farm
March 27, 2014
The recent donation of a 226-acre farm near Peru, Indiana will provide Michael Fields Agricultural Institute (MFAI) the opportunity to broaden the organization’s reach and impact. Short term, for 2014 – 2016, the farm has been rented to a young farmer from nearby Wabash who will farm it organically and grow alfalfa on the acreage. This will result in the institute being able to USDA certify the land as organic in early 2017. If the alfalfa stand is good at the end of three years, the same farmer will grow and sell organic alfalfa for the next two years.
Michael Fields will advise and work closely with this farmer to make sure no chemicals and only approved seed and soil amendments are used on the farm. In addition to the farmland, there is a forest plot of just over 20 acres on the farm. MFAI is working with a retired forester to complete an assessment of what types of trees are included and what invasive species might need to be removed. MFAI is also working with a local Indiana apiarist who is coordinating with the young farmer on placing beehives on the property.
Longer term, MFAI hopes to eventually do on-farm organic research and demonstration plots and invite local farmers to observe techniques such as how to transition land to organic production, how to use cover crops to build soil health and demonstrate no till organic production methods on a wide variety of small grain crops.