Transitioning to Organic Swine Production
Swine producers looking to transition into organic production will soon have additional resources and support from the U of MN swine research team. Yuzhi Li, Associate Professor of Swine at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC), Morris, was recently awarded funding through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture to look at ways to better support organic swine producers.
As a University of Minnesota entity, the WCROC is uniquely positioned to solve some of the issues surrounding organic swine production using a multidisciplinary approach. We’ll look at production areas such as cost, return on investment, organic feed, genetics, health, and welfare. Yuzhi will partner with other staff and faculty from the WCROC, U of MN St. Paul campus, USDA-ARS, and other ROC’s to look at utilizing cover crops, such as camelina, as feed ingredients to reduce feed costs for organic swine producers.
One of the goals of the project is to “provide scientific-based information to producers to help them in organic swine production,” says Yuzhi. “Small scale organic producers face different problems from large scale producers, and would benefit from University research as well.”
A large component of the project is outreach. By better understanding the issues that organic producers face, programming and recommendations can be developed. A series of seminars and focus groups will aim to identify issues and challenges that organic producers face.
Funding for this project is provided by USDA National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two grants 1) Integrated Research and Extension Planning – Organic Swine, and 2) Breaking barriers to organic swine transition: Utilizing cover crops as feed ingredients to reduce feed cost.