Massive Deregulation of Genetically-Engineered Crops
The USDA is considering allowing the release of 2, 4-D tolerant corn, while biotech giants battle for control of the seed industry in a panic over intellectual property rights.
Bacillus Thuringiensis, Bugs, and Humans
Insects are building resistance to genetically-modified crops, and bio-pesticides are found in the human bloodstream. What’s Next? …
The Importance of Organic Seed
Do you realize the importance of organic seed and the support it gives? Support for a healthy community, farm and the future of agriculture are just a few…
Making Hay with GM Alfalfa
Uncertainty surrounds the effects of genetically-modified crops and glyphosate on the health of soils, plants, livestock, and people.
MFAI’s Research In The Press
Institute Promotes Sustainable Agriculture People are taking notice of our research programs here at MFAI, and liking what they see. From plants with higher nutrition to diverse crop rotations, research here at MFAI could change the way we farm. Read what the Janesville Gazette had to say.
MFAI Corn Breeding Program Update
Michael Fields Agricultural Institute enters a new growing season with new staff and hybrid seed that was grown under organic conditions in Puerto Rico. Research continues to breed corn combining high nutrional value and yield […]
MFAI seeds in Puerto Rico
Funding by USDA-ARS and by USDA-NIFA-OREI is accelerating our work in the development of high methionine and nitrogen efficient corn.
The Social and Environmental Context
Neither Good for Farmers nor Consumers
Corn is the highest yielding, best-adapted cereal crop, and the most lucrative seed business in the country. There used to be many small companies that bred corn. However, in the last two decades there have been major consolidations as a few large companies struggle to dominate the supply of elite corn seed.
What We Are Doing
In 1988 Michael Fields Agricultural Institute began to breed, test, and produce new kinds of corn to provide an alternative to mega-business corn. We did this in response to a request from farmers for better quality corn. Farmers knew that gains in yield and other agronomic characteristics had come at the expense of nutritional value. […]
Highlights of Our Work and Results
Results in 2010 suggested that corn that has been selected under organic conditions appears to obtain more nitrogen than when conventionally bred corn is grown under organic conditions. We are currently researching this surprising phenomenon. […]
A Focus on Combining Nutritional Value and Yield
The corn we are breeding has enhanced taste, protein quality and vitamin content. This may increase feed efficiency and animal health. The carotenoids found in corn not only are natural antioxidants and precursors of Vitamin A, they also are essential for preventing eye disease (macular degeneration). They turn the egg yolk yellow-orange and they are […]
Global Implications and Potential
While this work may directly help the health of the US consumer and the organic poultry industry, it also has global implications. We might consider the following: In some parts of Africa and Asia corn makes up as much as 80% of the total caloric intake. These people suffer from a lack of high quality […]
What is Unique About Our Breeding/Selection Program
What is unique about our breeding/selection program is this: Our intent is to breed crops that show themselves to be highly adapted to the conditions and stresses found under organic conditions, and We view the plant as a partner in the breeding process and attempt to find the best plants working for whole-plant performance, with […]
Some of the Methods We Use
Nurseries are grown in organic fields in Ames, Iowa and East Troy, Wisconsin. Promising lines are exchanged between the MFAI and USDA breeding programs. Screening in the nurseries includes testing seedling vigor and seed vitality under cold stress and accelerated aging, insect and disease resistance though natural or artificial inoculation/infestation, standing ability, rating for overall […]