U of MN Team Wins USDA Grant for Organic Swine

November 08, 2021

A multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Yuzhi Li was recently awarded funding to investigate hybrid rye production and its uses in raising organic pigs. The Minnesota project is part of a federal Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) investment. 

To help drive down expensive organic pig production feed and bedding costs and reduce negative environmental impacts, University of Minnesota will develop strategies to optimize winter hybrid rye production, evaluate nutritional value of hybrid rye fed to pigs, determine its effects on meat quality, and examine the economic and environmental impacts of integrating hybrid rye into organic pig production systems. 

The project team includes University of Minnesota faculty members and Extension specialists from swine nutrition, agronomy, renewable energy, nutrient management, agriculture economics and meat science. 

The grant is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) investment of over $30 million for 33 grants that support farmers and ranchers who grow and market high-quality organic food and fiber. NIFA’s investment in Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative projects funds research, education and extension efforts to improve yields, quality and profitability for producers and processors who have adopted organic standards. Dr. Li’s project was awarded $1,433,820 and will take place at the West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, MN, over the next two years.

Minnesota’s organic swine producers can benefit from this project because winter rye has the potential to reduce costs as an on-farm source of feed and bedding. Its value has not been previously investigated, so this research will add more information to the education of organic pig farmers across the U.S.